Magical realism meets bildungsroman.
In this supernatural debut short story collection, the boundaries of reality are stretched to include all manner of creature and settings. In the title tale, a worm-fiddling girl named Lemon lives with her competitive uncles in the swamps and craves the attention of her best friend, an alligator wrestler named Sweets, who only has eyes for an albino beast called Swamp Ghost. In “Baba Yaga’s House of Forgotten Things,” juvenile delinquents are sent to atone in a home run by grannies, where the breeze “blows through open windows, stopping to dip its fingers in jars of rose and lavender scented talcum” and where a particularly cruel granny inflicts extra punishment by practicing “boo-hagging” in which, in the middle of the night, with her teeth out, she sits on a resident’s chest, tickling him awake with the dry strands of her silver hair. In “How to Get Rid of a Ghost & Other Lessons From Camp Pispogutt,” a heavy-drinking camp counselor finds that the only things that quiet the ghost of her best friend who trails her incessantly are sleeping with the lifeguard and diving deep into the lake. The girls who live in the sanctuary in “The Church of the Living God & Rescue Home for Divine Orphans” are each blessed/cursed with incredible attributes—one was born with a sun inside her, so her skin burns hot, and the more emotional she feels, the hotter she gets; another produces crystals from her nearly blind eyes; yet another has wings that must be clipped regularly—and they all hope to be saved by a prince from a faraway world. In just a few pages, Lojewski creates deeply imaginative and textured worlds. However mundane the plights of her characters—a crush on a boy, a tense mother-daughter relationship—those surreal environments make magic of the moments.
Eleven enchanted and enchanting stories of change.