Medallion Press just passed along this early review of Burnt Tongues from Booklist – getting closer now!




Issue: June 1, 2014


Burnt Tongues


Palahniuk, Chuck (Editor) and Thomas, Richard (Editor) and Widmyer, Dennis (Editor) Aug 2014. 310 p. Medallion, paperback, $14.95. (9781605427348).


Despite its little-heralded status in literary circles, the counterculture genre known as “transgressive” fiction, wherein the author and/or protagonist bucks social conventions by violating one or more taboos, actually has a rather illustrious history. Classic novels such as Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, featuring the murderous Raskolnikov, for instance, can be categorized as transgressive fiction. In this collection of 20 contemporary short stories, lead editor Palahniuk makes certain each piece qualifies as an example of both first-rate craftsmanship and something that pushes the envelope of social acceptability. In Neil Krolicki’s opening tale, “Live This Down,” three humiliated high school girls plot their suicides using a poison gas recipe gleaned from the Internet. An animal shelter technician in Chris Lewis Carter’s “Charlie” recognizes the tortured cat someone drops off as one he himself abused when it was a kitten. Matt Egan’s “A Vodka Kind of Girl” recounts the sad fate of a calorie-counting, bulimic woman. Anyone looking for boundary-breaking tales that also pack a haunting, powerful punch will find hours of entertainment here.


— Carl Hays