A woman muses on the influential men in her life, and the enduring significance of white pants. A grisly trial for a murder in which a son witnessed his mother’s stabbing forces a juror to come to terms with the absence of her missionary son. A young father tries to resist lusting after his adoptive son’s birth mother at a Mother’s Day picnic. A widow tends to her mother-in-law’s garden to ameliorate their shared grief.
In twenty-eight stories that draw blood while making you laugh, Alex Behr’s debut collection PLANET GRIM is a vivid, unsettling portrait of the gritty fringes of San Francisco and Portland, where complicated characters long for connection just out of reach. Behr is an idiosyncratic, unpredictable prose stylist with an edge and willingness to cut to the bone that makes her writing truly original.
“Alex Behr’s imagination is wild, rigorous, and totally unique. I haven’t been able to decide if her stories are comedies intercut with horror or horror stories leavened by comedy, but when they’re this entertaining, who cares?”
— Tom Bissell, author of Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve
“Alex Behr’s characters are conflicted, uncertain, and pained. What’s so compelling about her fiction is how she honors that conflictedness, explores the uncertainties, and examines the pain until it reveals itself as irreducibly human and therefore a kind of grace.”
— Dan DeWeese, author of You Don’t Love This Man and Disorder
“In Alex Behr’s funny, poignant stories, the kids are sharp, fearless, and insatiable, the parents conflicted, lustful, and tough. The meaning of family and love is an epic game nobody can win or stop playing.”
— Mary Rechner, author of the story collection Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women