A debut that entertains, stuns, and dazzles at every risk-taking turn. This is short story as art and it's mind-boggling that the two best stories, “Glow Hunter” (a sensory trip) and “Starlite” (a seedy hotel masterpiece), were not published before this book's release, making your purchase of this collection mandatory. Parsons is a force and her perfect blend of humor, longing, propulsive style, and humid southern atmospherics makes Black Light one of the best books of the year. Recommended By Kevin S., Powells.com
In Black Light, Parsons mines the dingy side of life: the messy, the worn, the dirty. These stories are populated with the poor, the addicted, the liars, the wounded, the cheaters. Parsons deftly strings together this handful of compelling stories out of that muck of darkness. I blasted through this book in an evening, mesmerized by her stark stories, her hapless characters, the muddied insight into pallid lives, the feeble hope for redemption. Through all the darkness, there is clarity here: a sharp rendering of lives lived on the edge, and the brilliant human beauty that is found there. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"The stories in Black Light are grimy and weird, surprising, utterly lush. . . . I loved every moment of this book." Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
With raw, poetic ferocity, Kimberly King Parsons exposes desire's darkest hollows — those hidden places where most of us are afraid to look. In this debut collection of enormously perceptive and brutally unsentimental short stories, Parsons illuminates the ache of first love, the banality of self-loathing, the scourge of addiction, the myth of marriage, and the magic and inevitable disillusionment of childhood.
Taking us from hot Texas highways to cold family kitchens, from the freedom of pay-by-the-hour motels to the claustrophobia of private school dorms, these stories erupt off the page with a primal howl — sharp-voiced, acerbic, and wise.
"[Parsons] writes with the unpredictable power of a firecracker, bringing flashes of illumination to people who struggle with disappointment, both in themselves and others. Every story in this collection is beyond remarkable, and Parsons proves herself to be a gutsy country-punk poet with a keen eye and a stubbornly unique sensibility." NPR
"Compulsively readable, this book is as much a love letter to language as it is to the natural world, the darkened corners of desire, and the absurdities of girlhood. Gutsy, loud, and so very Texas, this one moved me in a tectonic way." Bustle
"There is a reckless kind of heat to the tender, broken characters in these stories. . . . Parsons is both unflinching and eloquent in her portrayals of people as they burn and rage." The Paris Review
"Parsons's debut crackles with the frenetic energy of the women who stalk its pages. . . . Parsons's characters are sharp and uncannily observed, bound up in elastic and electrifying prose. This is a first-rate debut." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Born in Lubbock, Texas, Kimberly King Parsons received her MFA from Columbia University. Her fiction has been published in Best Small Fictions 2017, New South, Black Warrior Review, No Tokens, Joyland, Ninth Letter, and The Kenyon Review, among others.
Kimberly King Parsons on PowellsBooks.Blog
My son tells me there’s a woman made of garbage who lives in our walls. He tells me this at night, while we’re trying to go to sleep in my dim bedroom, his father out of town...