Wednesday, April 9, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Incendiary Girls by Kodi Scheer

Title: Incendiary Girls
Author: Kodi Scheer
Genre: Short Story/Magic Realism Fiction
Publisher: New Harvest
Release Date: April 8/2014
Acquired:  E-copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Incendiary Girls explores our baser instincts with vivid imagination and humor. In these stories, our bodies become strange and unfamiliar terrain, a medium for transformation. In “Fundamental Laws of Nature,” a doctor considers her legacy, both good and bad, when she discovers that her mother has been reincarnated as a thoroughbred mare. In the title story, a mischievous angel chronicles the remarkable life of a girl just beyond death’s reach.

In Scheer’s hands, empathy and attachment are illuminated by the absurdity of life. When our bodies betray us, when we begin to feel our minds slip, how much can we embrace without going insane? How much can we detach ourselves before losing our humanity? Scheer’s stories grapple with these questions in each throbbing, choking, heartbreaking moment.


I'm not exactly sure if she meant it to be, but if any inspiration from Kafka was used to craft the narratives in this book, it was definitely felt. It's difficult to review a book steeped in magic realism, as it usually lends to such an ambiguous tone, and ambiguity is not one of my favourite literary devices. I sometimes hate being left to my own imagination, as insane as that sounds, coming from an avid reader. Kodi Scheer was successful in her efforts to mix reality with surreality, but I wasn't blown away by every story in Incendiary Girls.

If I had to pick, my favourite was probably one of the shortest: Miss Universe. A tale in which one of the contestants was, quite grotesquely, torn limb from limb. It was a literal translation of the jealousy, and competitive madness, that is felt by the people participating in such an event. Incendiary Girls was like an acid trip of literary proportions. It was like handing a pen to the raw, human brain, and then asking it to draw pictures. It's not often we are allowed to drop our filters, and think true thoughts, or act on impulses that lurk just beneath the surface, so close. Kodi Scheer's writing was engaging, and thought-provoking, even if those thoughts sometimes veered into very weird territory. It was truth, cloaked in some fantastical notions, and bouts of magic. 

Incendiary Girls was definitely one of the most strange, but invoking, narratives I've read thus far. If you're in the mood for something very different, you'll want to be picking this one up.

Recommended for fans of: Jose Saramago, Magic Realism, Short Stories.


Kodi Scheer teaches writing at the University of Michigan, where she earned her MFA. She was awarded the Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service. As a recent fellow of the Sozopol Fiction Seminars, she traveled to Bulgaria to engage with an international community of writers, translators, and readers. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Chicago Tribune, The Iowa Review, The Florida Review, Quarterly West, and Bellevue Literary Review. She also serves as writer-in-residence for the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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Thank-you to Lisa from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to New Harvest for sending me an e-copy to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour


  1. Sounds like a family love kind of read. Although I don't really go for short stories, great review!

    Cindy @ In This World of Books..


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