Peach Pit: Sixteen Stories of Unsavory Women

In Peach Pit, editors Molly Llewellyn and Kristel Buckley gather 16 short stories about womanhood that are equal parts unsettling, provocative, and playful. In "Fuckboy Museum" by Deesha Philyaw, a woman fed up with men's disrespectful online dating habits takes matters into her own hands. Meanwhile, in stories like K-Ming Chang's "Caller" and Chana Porter's "Aquafina," protagonists deal with their sometimes toxic but always intense relationships with other women. In Amanda Leduc's "The Devil's Doorbell," a girl deals with the frighteningly pleasurable fallout of unwittingly calling a she-devil into existence through masturbation. And Lauren Groff's intoxicating "Amaranth" traces the twisted path of one girl's development as she learns to take advantage of her body to seek revenge.

These stories, despite being independently produced, fit perfectly together, not only in terms of their thematic content but also their tones. Although they focus on women who might be deemed unsavory, all of them strike a perfect balance between a fascination with the horrific or grotesque and a gleeful shirking of constraint. Often, like in "Aquafina" or "Fuckboy Museum," the stories are experimental with their forms, incorporating poetry or online threads. Others, such as "Caller" and "Amaranth," retain a traditional form even as they experiment with the moral limits often given to women characters. Alison Rumfitt's "Buffalo," for example, which focuses on a transgender woman's hunt for a serial killer she is suspected of being, winkingly nods to the kind of play so characteristic of this anthology: one that recognizes readers' expectations and then subverts them with a laugh. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

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