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At an obscure South Carolina nursing home, a lost world reemerges as a disabled elderly woman undergoes newfangled brain-restoration procedures and begins to explore her environment with the assistance of strap-on robot legs. At a deluxe medical spa on a nameless Caribbean island, a middle-aged woman hopes to revitalize her fading youth with grotesque rejuvenating therapies that combine cutting-edge medical technologies with holistic approaches and the pseudo-religious dogma of Zen-infused self-help. And in a rinky-dink mill town, an adolescent girl is unexpectedly inspired by the ravings and miraculous levitation of her fundamentalist friend’s weird grandmother. These are only a few of the scenarios readers encounter in Julia Elliott’s debut collection, The Wilds. In these genre-bending stories, teetering between the ridiculous and the sublime, Elliott’s language-driven fiction uses outlandish tropes to capture poignant moments in her humble characters’ lives. Without abandoning the tenets of classic storytelling, Elliott revels in lush lyricism, dark humor, and experimental play.
Julia Elliott’s fiction has appeared in Tin House, the Georgia Review, Conjunctions, Fence, Puerto del Sol, Mississippi Review, and other magazines. She has won a Pushcart Prize and a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award. Her debut novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch, will be published by Tin House Books in 2015, and she is currently working on a novel about Hamadryas baboons, a species that she has studied as an amateur primatologist. She teaches English and women’s and gender studies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, where she lives.
Table of Contents
The Whipping (first published in the Georgia Review and Best American Fantasy 2007) LIMBs (first published in Tin House) Feral (first published in Conjunctions) Jaws (first published in the Mississippi Review) The Wilds (first published in Tin House and in Fantastic Women: 18 Tales of the Surreal and Sublime from Tin House) Regeneration at Mukti (first published in Conjunctions and The Pushcart Prize XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses) Freak Magnet (first published in Conjunctions) The Love Machine Rapture (first published in the Georgia Review) Caveman Diet Organisms (first published in Conjunctions) The End of the World (first published in Conjunctions)