Hot Pink

McSweeney’s  2012

This collection of ten short stories may be unlike any other. Author Adam Levin has a gift for the grotesque, the vile, and the absurd, packaged as our darkest but truest impulses.

The anthology opens with the tale of a fanatical father determined to perfect a bulimic toy doll for the greater good. Whittling away his savings, health, and family ties trying to please the demanding toy company he's pitching (the doll's bile is too realistic, then not realistic enough), he eventually "goes with Hasbro for something in the low seven-figure range" and lives with his wife and three sons bizarrely but happily ever after.

Another story, "Considering the Bittersweet End of Susan Falls," features a fifteen-year-old prodigy who, devastated by the death of her turtle, which she killed when testing the strength of its shell with her mountain bike, throws herself in front of a car and loses her legs.

The stories will make you wince and squirm, but it's difficult to keep from turning the page to see what comes next: Levin goes places where most of us wouldn't dare let our mind wander.

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