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Kelly Barnhill is a weirdo. I know this because she told me so, and because her stories of dreadful, terrible, passionate, immoderate, young women are undeniably the product of a weird imagination. I know many, many writers, and weirdness is endemic to the species. Whether the weirdness is a product of the writing, or vice versa, I don’t know. In any case, it’s not a glitch; it’s a feature. That weirdness manifests as a sort of hyper-developed peripheral vision: it enables a writer to see things that might not withstand direct scrutiny and bring them into startling focus — a literary circumvention of the physicists’ observer effect. Kelly Barnhill possesses this gift in abundance. She shows us things that are not real, but are nevertheless true; things that we know to be important even though they may not exist. To put it another way, she writes fairy tales. Fairy tales written in lush, insistent, dreamlike prose. Yarns that the Grimm brothers never dreamed. Some of her stories are written to be read by children, but all of her stories are for adults. This is one of those stories. - Pete Hautman
About the Author: Kelly Barnhill lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. She is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the Newbery Medal. The Witch’s Boy received four starred reviews and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards. Kelly Barnhill has been awarded writing fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the McKnight Foundation. Visit her online at kellybarnhill.wordpress.com or on Twitter: @kellybarnhill.
About the Recommender: Pete Hautman is the author of several novels for young adults, including Rash, Invisible, and Godless, for which he won the 2004 National Book Award. Several of his books have received ALA Best Book for Young Adults citations. You can visit him at petehautman.com.
About the Publisher: Electric Literature is an independent publisher amplifying the power of storytelling through digital innovation. Electric Literature’s weekly fiction magazine, Recommended Reading, invites established authors, indie presses, and literary magazines to recommended great fiction. Once a month we feature our own recommendation of original, previously unpublished fiction. Recommended Reading is supported by the Amazon Literary Partnership, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For other links from Electric Literature, follow us, or sign up for our eNewsletter.