The cover caught me first—a precocious tabby perched precariously on a haphazard pile of household objects. The writing held me however: concise, yet expansive and unexpected; much like a feline—both predatory and cuddly, capable of cunning and economical movement.
From an ill-placed chinese-take-out-order and misplaced wedding ring, to an apartment full of objects fleeing their owner, Galchen’s stories are fierce, funny, brilliant, bizarre, tragic and absolutely stunning.
The literary and philosophic references highlight both the author’s formal education and her deeper grasp of the innovations humans hang their lives on. I will never again taste key-lime without thinking “Kantian sublime.” The quip about Walter Mitty is a stronger character reference than a paragraph of prose.
Her vocabulary is extensive, but not over-reached. She knows this somehow, which makes her writing feel both studied and instinctual. I kept reading sentences aloud to anyone who would listen and, when I finished, I had the strange urge to start again from the beginning.