Kelly Link is an American writer who has written several short story collections; among them, Get in Trouble was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Fiction. This week we’re reading “The Faery Handbag,” from Magic for Beginners. I’ve been on a modern fairytale kick recently, and I’ve always loved Kelly Link. This one stuck with me, and I’m looking forward to discussing it! Q’s below:
- What techniques does Link employ to inform our understanding of the narrator, particularly with regard to voice? What did you think of the choice to have Genevieve address the reader?
- Link uses clothing + accessories as an extended metaphor. What do you think she is getting at? Why?
- How does this story explore responsibility and failure? In what ways does the protagonist fail? In what ways succeed?
- What hallmarks of a classic bildungsroman does Link make use of in this story? How does she turn the typical arc on its head? What do you make of her treatment of love?
- The story takes several seemingly unrelated turns (library books, Houdini, etc.). How does Link make sense of the structure and what can we learn from this?