and Siberian sled cats to the ﬁre swallowers and great-aunts-for-hire, the charac- ters that populate the worlds of this book are sideways, surreal, and startling without being wholly unbelievable. In each story, Milbrodt crafts, in just a few short pages, a world almost indis- tinguishable from our own, but where the characters, who would often live at the margins of the world we recognize, comfortably occupy the center. The narrators and protagonists of the stories ﬁercely enforce their control over their own narra- tives, and the reader must buy in to each of their peculiar skewed vantage points for the stories to pay o√. ‘‘Box,’’ one of the most provocative entries in the collection, serves as a kind of origin story for Ta√y, a charismatic woman who, upon being evicted by her practical and resentful sister, ﬁnds success in homelessness. She o√ers the com- munity a landmark and a common cause, and in return they o√er her enough material comforts to survive. The narrator’s frustrated bemusement, rooted in the utter logic of mainstream discourse about rewarding work rather than indul- ging laziness, threatens to drive her completely mad. And this, I think, is the great achievement of Work Opportunities:
Prairie Schooner – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Apr 19, 2019
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