Like everything included in “Get in Trouble,” these stories make you laugh while staring into the void. By the end, they’ll be with you sleeping and waking. They’ll be inside you, too.
“Get In Trouble” shares many elements with its predecessors, like magic, splendid sentences, and stories that are actually perfect, tiny, self-contained universes. But in her current collection, ever-present, pitch-dark undercurrents swirl yet closer to the surface. The darkness imbues the stories with a sense of urgency and importance, helping them to transcend those that came before.
As a writer Kelly Link is possessed of many magical powers, but to me what's most notable about her new collection, Get in Trouble, is its astonishing freedom. It's one thing to put demon lovers and ghost boyfriends and spaceships in your stories, but it's something else to allow yourself to explore broad and unusual territory without worrying whether the reader will follow you closely. Link's fiction may be strange, but so, it seems, are all of us, each with our own highly particular inner lives. Her confidence and storytelling chops give her the freedom to enter these places and record what she sees there.
Getting in trouble with your parents is never fun, and most kids would like to avoid it. Teenagers tend to get in the most trouble, because a natural part of being a teenager is asserting independence from their families. If you're a kid who's trying to avoid getting in trouble, you can start by learning to talk so that your parents will be more likely to listen to what you have to say. If you can't actually follow the rules they set, there are ways of appearing to follow the rules that will keep you out of trouble and help avoid arguments.