At an obscure South Carolina nursing home, a lost world reemerges as a disabled elderly woman undergoes newfangled brain-restoration procedures and begins to explore her environment with the assistance of strap-on robot legs. At a deluxe medical spa on a nameless Caribbean island, a middle-aged woman hopes to revitalize her fading youth with grotesque rejuvenating therapies that combine cutting-edge medical technologies with holistic approaches and the pseudo-religious dogma of Zen-infused self-help. And in a rinky-dink mill town, an adolescent girl is unexpectedly inspired by the ravings and miraculous levitation of her fundamentalist friend's weird grandmother. These are only a few of the scenarios readers encounter in Julia Elliott's debut collection, The Wilds. In these genre-bending stories, teetering between the ridiculous and the sublime, Elliott's language-driven fiction uses outlandish tropes to capture poignant moments in her humble characters' lives. Without abandoning the tenets of classic storytelling, Elliott revels in lush lyricism, dark humor, and experimental play.
Read an excerpt HERE.
Read an interview with the author HERE.
Praise for the book:
"Remarkable . . . [Elliott's] dark, modern spin on Southern Gothic creates tales that surprise, shock, and sharply depict vice and virtue."~Publishers Weekly
"Robots may search for love, but there’s nothing wilder than human nature in this genre-bending short story collection from debut writer Elliott . . . This book will take you to places you never dreamed of going and aren't quite sure you want to stay, but you won't regret the journey."~Kirkus
"Humans, robots, and humans with robotic limbs pine for carnal satisfaction in Elliott’s impressively inventive, often macabre collection, animated by her characters’ outsize appetites for sex, knowledge, faith, and kindness."~Booklist
“Readers who grew up loving that fizzy, edge-of-the-lake feeling of diving into a tale will adore Julia Elliott's The Wilds. Elliott's worlds are fully imagined and wholly immersive; her sentences unfurl in the most surprising and glorious ways. These are tantalizingly strange, eerie and funny and unpredictable tales of transformation.”~Karen Russell, author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove
“Julia Elliott’s magical debut collection, The Wilds, brings together some of the most original, hilarious, and mind-bending stories written in the last two decades. She journeys deep into mythic terrains with an explorer’s courage and a savant’s wit, and the reports she sends back from imagination’s hinterlands are charged with a vernacular that crackles with insight. Angela Carter, Kelly Link, and Karen Russell are similar visionaries in the short story form, but Elliott is very much her own irrepressible voice—and it’s one well worth heeding. The Wilds is simply a milestone achievement.”~Bradford Morrow, author of The Uninnocent