Synopses & Reviews
Fiction. Blending the fabulous with the macabre, the lyrical with the grotesque, the atemporal with the present, and melancholy with dark humor, these stories will take you from the ambiguous world of modern folktales where a man tries to catch Death in a box, to communist Eastern Europe where a man eats his own brains, to contemporary women who like garbage, or who prefer to keep their babies inside their bodies rather than give birth. "Fun, glam, and deliciously smart, Ifland's language whispers half-forgotten folktales from imagined folk, remembering stories that never happened about two people who never existed. Go ahead, open this box. I dare you"—Jefferey DeShell.
"The great Argentinean writer Cesar Aira says, 'The story is always about the unexplainable.' Alta Ifland wrestles with the unexplainable in this collection, tossing it around before shoving it in a box for the reader to peek at -- if he dares. Death, time, and identity are just some of the ineffable topics Ifland tackles. Wisely, she does not hit them straight on but rather from behind, sneaking up on time, for example, through the mundane act of putting on shoes: 'Today, as I was tying my shoelaces, it suddenly occurred to me that everything we do in life, every single insignificant gesture points to the future, whether we are conscious of it or not.' Or sucker punching death with humor: 'One day I entered a Jack-in-the-Box and, instead of asking for a burger, with the most candid eyes and sweet voice, I said, 'Sir, could I please have some Death-in-a-box?' In most of the stories in this wonderfully disorienting collection, she demonstrates a fabulist take that allows only precarious footing in the quotidian: 'When the furniture began to sweat, I knew that the world I'd known until then was gone.'" Peter Granbois, Rain Taxi (Read the entire Rain Taxi review)
About the Author
Alta Ifland was born in Transylvania, Romania, and emigrated to the United States in 1991. She is the author of VOICE OF ICE/VOIX DE GLACE (prose poems; French/English; Les Figues Press, 2007), winner of the 2008 Louis Guillaume Prize; Elegy for a Fabulous World (short stories; Ninebark Press, 2009), nominated for the 2010 Northern California Book Award in Fiction; and DEATH-IN-A-BOX (short stories; Subito Press, 2011).