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By Adam Levin (McSweeney’s)

In this fast-paced, nihilistic American short story collection, Adam Levin explores 10 disturbingly imaginable worlds with a sort of cartoonish realism I’ve never before encountered. We begin with “Frankwittgenstein,” a hilarious, non-stop social commentary about a family whose patriarch becomes obsessed with curing preadolescent anorexia and fritters away his life (and family’s money) fashioning an anatomic doll named Bonnie who can vomit and grow excess arm hair. The story about self-inflicted panic, the unraveling of the family unit, and the hypocrisy of morality introduces one of the collection’s favourite subjects: the ways in which our minds can be our own worst enemies. This is also explored in “Scientific American,” a creepy domestic horror story involving a house that oozes a mysterious gel. Love stories take the form of paraplegic lesbian fantasies and a misplaced origami love letter that results in tragedy. These stories are grotesque, intelligent and darkly funny. An exhilarating read. WM

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