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Girl Zoo, Girl Zoo, 1573660701, 1-57366-070-1, 978-1-57366-070-9, 9781573660709, , , Girl Zoo, 1573668826, 1-57366-882-6, 978-1-57366-882-8, 9781573668828,

Girl Zoo
Aimee Parkison and Carol Guess

Quality Paper
2019. 170 pp.
Price:  $16.95 t
E Book
2019. 170 pp.
Price:  $9.95 t

A dark yet playful collection of short stories that pushes boundaries and blurs the lines between the real and surreal
Girl Zoo is an enthralling and sometimes unsettling collection of short stories that examines how women in society are confined by the limitations and expectations of pop culture, politics, advertising, fashion, myth, and romance. In each story, a woman or girl is literally confined or held captive, and we can only watch as they are transformed into objects of terror and desire, plotting their escape from their cultural cages.
Taken as a whole, this experimental speculative fiction invites parallels to social justice movements focused on sexuality and gender, as well as cautionary tales for our precarious political movement. Parkison and Guess offer no solutions to their characters’ captivity. Instead, they challenge their audience to read against the grain of conventional feminist dystopian narratives by inviting them inside the “Girl Zoo” itself.
Take a step inside the zoo and see for yourself. We dare you. Behind the bars, a world of wonder awaits.

Aimee Parkison is the author of Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman: Stories, winner of Fiction Collective Two’s Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, The Petals of Your Eyes, and the story collections The Innocent Party and Woman with Dark Horses, winner of the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction. Parkison is the director of creative writing at Oklahoma State University, where she teaches fiction writing in the MFA and PhD programs.
Carol Guess is the author of nineteen books of poetry and prose, including Darling Endangered, Doll Studies: Forensics, Tinderbox Lawn, and With Animal (cowritten with Kelly Magee). In 2014 she was awarded the Philolexian Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement by Columbia University. She teaches in the MFA program at Western Washington University and lives in Seattle.

"Girl Zoo is exposing contradictions at a higher level than it ever could with mere description or subversion. Parkison and Guess attack the political with the speculative. The book burns hot for the entirety of its read-time, and ultimately, leaves the reader with a puzzling-yet-fitting finish. The confinement doesn’t end, but is given the opportunity to end at a cost. Parkison and Guess have produced an enthralling read that lends itself to teaching the power of attention to every word, sentence, and paragraph. But this is not just fiction. This is a viewing of the act society always performs: watching, from the watchtower, until the zoochosis kicks in. But they’ve struck at it, made us aware. We have a way out."
Necessary Fiction

"Guess and Parkison have written a guidebook for a zoo that needs to be recognized as real. Though Girl Zoo does rely on the word Girl to sell itself, the work is perhaps exempt from the critique that it capitalizes on a trend. For in its pages, text has been lent to an otherwise textless place."
The Brooklyn Rail

"Part dark angry fairytales, part avant-gothic myths, part surreal fever dreams, and always genuinely unique, Girl Zoo is a remarkable collaborative collection of concentrated narraticules about 56 captive women who are the same woman, not the same woman, and not not the same woman. Aimee Parkison and Carol Guess explore the thematics of the commodified and controlled female subject, complicating the problem, nuancing it, metaphorizing it so the reader sees it always anew, yet never offering any easy way out. The rhythms, syntax, vocabulary, and meta-logic feel childlike, yet the content remains relentlessly bloody, violent, somehow naively (and, of course, not naively at all) dangerous to the bone."
—Lance Olsen, author of Dreamlives of Debris

“There's a breathlessness and wonder to the prose, a sense of two minds building on each other. Girl Zoo can be uneven in places, but that, to my reading, is in the nature of the performative, collaborative work that Parkison and Guess are up to here: the danger that a story might not succeed makes it all the more thrilling when so many do.”
American Book Review

Girl Zoo is a breathtaking journey inside the cold hard facts of gender and sexual incarceration. Taking the "woman as object" trope to its logical extreme, these stories stage a break-in and dare the reader to imagine what it would take for women and girls to break out of the very narratives that keep us caged. A triumph of the imaginal in the face of a culture that would see us silenced, dead, and gone. Read these girls, change your life.”
—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan

“Stark and eerie, sharp and freewheeling, Girl Zoo renders its subjects in perfectly balanced prose. A captivating reflection of our times.”—Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot
Also of Interest

Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman
Aimee Parkison, Foreword by Stephen Graham Jones

Famous Children and Famished Adults
Evelyn Hampton

Once into the Night
Aurelie Sheehan, Foreword by Laird Hunt

Bhopal Dance
Jennifer Natalya Fink, Foreword by Mary Caponegro