Monday, May 03, 2010

Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week :: Changing Woman by Brandi Wells

Issue #Y'aing'ngahThis week's story recommendation goes to "Changing Woman" by Brandi Wells, from Issue #Y'aing'ngah of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, a bizarro magazine.

Bizarro is a surreal and punkish subgenre that can be a lot of fun when you're in the mood for something different. It is deliberately outrageous, with titles like Rampaging Fuckers of Everything on the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere (by Mykle Hansen) or cover images such a woman's naked derrière (Satan Burger by Carlton Mellick III). The best bizarro works are not merely absurd, but manage to employ their strangeness to make interesting suggestions about the real world.

"Changing Woman" is that kind of bizarro story, where lots of amusingly odd stuff happens, but there is an edge to all the weirdness. When the title character's eyes slide down her face leaving a huge forehead, it is uncomfortably telling that the husband finds he prefers "the concrete assuredness and structure" of her smooth face, that he starts to wonder if he couldn't fold her whole body into a featureless box. This is a funny and offbeat yet simultaneously disturbing story, a wacky bizarro tale that is also an effective feminist parable.

Brandi Wells is just starting on an MFA, but she has already put out plenty of good work, most of it flash fiction, much of it not fantastic, and quite a bit of it in the form of lists don't ask me why. She has popped up at McSweeney's, Improbable Object, Apt, Hobart, and other places, with hopefully a great deal more to come.

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