Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby is an insightful, hilarious, and often poignant collection of inventive and fresh short stories.
I've always hated how the Trojans never listened to Cassandra's prophecies, and the author uses that myth in the title story as a springboard for exploring how women's voices are often marginalized and silenced. The modern transformation of "Trojan" made me laugh out loud.
“She would have left, buying nothing, the dark parking lot endless, every car disguising a secret.
Luckily, last night she was bitten by a radioactive cockroach. . . .
In the dark, arms full of groceries, the parking lot is beautiful in a way she’s never noticed before.”
Recent events, in light of these tales, make me imagine women (and Others) developing Medusa-like superpowers and filling the halls of power with statues). Read more on Medusa here.
"Jerry's Crab Shack: One Star" was a simultaneously funny and sad review of one man's emasculating experience at a local eatery, whereas "How to Retile Your Bathroom in 6 Easy Steps!" is a woman's emancipation through inexpert home remodeling.
"Mt. Adams at Mar Vista" explores the aftermath of gun violence in the context of a girl's softball game. "First Woman Hanged for Witchcraft" had me flipping pages with dread--and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
The deft story of Mary Read, the real-life pirate, left me hungry for more. I loved the sister-bond in "Inishmore," and "Midwestern Girl is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories" lived up to its awesome title.
The final story, "We Handle It," is a pitch-perfect portrayal of teenagers at a music camp who run into a creepy older man. The author did an incredible job playing up their fears (and evoking my own).
I love this line from after their first encounter with him:
"What other animal passes on the call of danger and feels a thrill of pleasure?"
Each of the four girls is a fully realized character, adding to the authentic feel of the story. The surreal ending was cathartic.
Like all great literature, these stories can be read on multiple levels. Highly recommended for everyone, especially those feeling discouraged and fearful of the current political climate.