New Wave Fabulism

“Feel like the fiction you’ve been reading has been missing something — aliens perhaps, or the occasional occult incursion of rabbits? A new literary movement, based in Northampton, has just the thing for you.”

Jessica Winter in the Boston Globe:

Screenhunter_1_20A subdued group of middle-aged friends sits around a table over cards and beer. They’re benumbed by their jobs and uninterested in their dusty, adulterous marriages. They’re tired; they have no secrets between them. They decide to call a phone-sex line, where the seductive voice on the other end spins a yarn about the devil and a cheerleader. And then the cheerleader herself unravels a tale–weirder than the one she’s in–about clones and potions and imminent alien visitations and a troubled husband and wife. And then the husband starts telling a story about a time machine…

Welcome to “Lull,” the story that closes Kelly Link’s collection “Magic for Beginners” and, with its potent blend of the supernatural and the everyday, might just encapsulate one of the most fertile literary movements of recent years.

Like many genre categories, this one is a shape-shifter with an array of aliases, including “slipstream,” “new weird,” and even a variation that combines “weird” with a common scatological term. The jacket copy of “Magic for Beginners” invokes “kitchen-sink magic realism,” but perhaps the most evocative label is “new wave fabulists,” denoting those writers who are currently staking out ground between mainstream literary fiction and the more specialized domains of science fiction and fantasy.

More here.