Rita Bullwinkel's Belly Up is an astounding collection of short stories — stories about girls who want to be plants, or a living boy who grew up in a family of zombies, or a dying woman who sneaks out for a night swim with an ailing man. These stories exist in worlds just past reality, just slightly uncomfortable, familiar until, suddenly, they aren't. And I didn't just read these stories, each revealing at once the absolute absurdity and magnificence of being alive; I savored them. Bullwinkel's writing — her world-building — demands space to reflect on it, react to it, and then, if you're like me, shout about it to anyone who will listen. And so, it's fitting that in "Fried Dough," a story about teenagers falling in love in a 24-hour doughnut shop, one of the teens, while reading, "got on a chair and screamed a passage ... that she thought was more beautiful than anything she had been previously told was beauty," because there were so many moments, while reading this book, in which I wanted to do the same.
Get it from Amazon for $13.54 or from a local bookseller through Indiebound here.