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THE WILDS by Julia Elliott reviewed by Kim Steele • Cleaver Magazine
THE WILDS by Julia Elliott Tin House Books, 372 pages reviewed by Kim Steele Finishing Julia’s Elliott’s debut short story collection The Wilds felt like leaving a strange town: I’m relieved to be back in a world where I understand the rules, but I can’t stop glancing in the rearview. The universe Elliott has created in this book is fenced together by her unique and consistent voice. Every story, whether it be about a lovelorn robot, a town overrun with feral dogs, or a young girl filling the two hours before her scheduled whipping, is written in the same unflinching and intelligent manner. Elliott doesn’t hold back from the repugnant details of life, in fact, many of her stories obsess over them. Again and again her characters are acne-smeared: “Purple pimples glistened like drops of jelly on his cheeks,” “A massive zit festers in my nose like a parasite; I’ve … chop! chop! read more!