In this collection rife with humor and pathos, alienated characters struggle to subvert, contain, control, and even escape their bodies. A teenage girl grapples with pubic hair grown wild, a biologist finds herself in love with a gorilla, a transvestite prisoner yearns to escape her biological destiny.
In some stories, the bodies have surrogates: a high-school girl babysits an elderly woman’s plastic doll while negotiating her own sexual awakening, and a young man finds that he can only receive affection from his father when he is in costume. Dark humor and magical realism put in sharp relief the everyday trials of Americans in a story collection that asks, in what way are we more than the sum of our parts?
Jennifer Caloyeras is the author of Strays. Her short stories have appeared in Booth, Storm Cellar, and other literary magazines. She recently served as the artist-in-residence at the Annenberg in Santa Monica and teaches writing at the the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.
“Jennifer Caloyeras is an enormously talented writer with a rare combination of great imagination and heart.”
“Jennifer Caloyeras’s stories snap, crackle, and pop with animal energy. Every one of these stories is an unruly creature, wild at heart, fierce and funny, and heartbreaking.”
“When you read Unruly Creatures, the stories stare back at you like a caged gorilla. Haunting, revelatory, and utterly breathtaking, Caloyeras is an astonishing talent.”
“Riotous, off-kilter, tender, magical—this collection is utterly accomplished and madly engaging. Jennifer Caloyeras’s writing is as wild and beautiful as the unruly creatures in her stories.”