Unruly Creatures (2017)
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In this collection rife with humor and pathos, alienated characters struggle to subvert, contain, control, and even escape their bodies. A teenage girl grapples with pubic hair grown wild, a biologist finds herself in love with a gorilla, a prisoner yearns to escape her biological destiny.
In some stories, the bodies have surrogates: a high-school girl babysits an elderly woman's plastic doll while negotiating her own sexual awakening, and a young man finds that he can only receive affection from his father when he is in costume. Dark humor and magical realism put into sharp relief the everyday trials of Americans in a story collection that asks, in what way are we more than the sum of our parts.
"A rare combination of great imagination and heart."
- Max Brooks, author of World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide
"Jennifer Caloyeras's stories snap, crackle, and pop with animal energy. Every one of these stories is an unruly creature, wild at heart, fierce and funny, and heartbreaking."
- Zsuzsi Gartner, author of Better Living through Plastic Explosives and All the Anxious Girls on Earth
"When you read Unruly Creatures, the stories stare back at you like a caged gorilla. Haunting, revelatory, and utterly breathtaking, Caloyeras is an astonishing talent."
- Matthew J. Trafford, author of The Divinity Gene
"Riotous, off-kilter, tender, magical - this collection is utterly accomplished and madly engaging. Jennifer Caloyeras's writing is as wild and beautiful as the unruly creatures in her stories."
- Laura Trunkey, author of Double Dutch
"This collection will soar off the shelf, and stick permanently in the mind."
- MacKenzie Hamilton, New Pages (click here for full review)
"In the end, it is the exploration of intimacy, the desire to escape one’s reality, one’s body, and personal identity that drives and connects Caloyeras’ stories. "
- Coty Poynter, JMWW (click here for full review)
"Do not fall in love with a Jennifer Caloyeras character, for to fall in love with a Jennifer Caloyeras character will only bring you suffering, confusion, and an overwhelming sense of existential dread. In this collection of short stories, Caloyeras (...) has written a set of unrelated creatures that are evasive, duplicitous, and occasionally predatory. And may justify stealing from you. Whether it's the handler at a center for privileged gorillas who finds herself seduced by her favorite female gorilla, or a young boy with an overzealous curiosity for taxidermy, the characters in Caloyeras' new book steal the show."
- Robert Daniel Evers, Pop Matters