Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

The Great Taste of Straight People


The Great Taste of Straight People
by Lily James

Paperback
1997
Price: $8.95

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While academics argue over who actually invented the word "postfeminism," writers like Lily James are engaged in the task of creating what comes after the feminist movement.  Beyond the Buzz, chick-lit postfeminist writing has created some of the hippest eye-catchers in contemporary fiction.  This fiction is funny, wry and new.  As Eurudice commented, "It is a must-have for girls that have considered selling out."


In The Great Taste of Straight People, Lily James spanks the eternal theme of Chaos vs. Order. Her characters are True Believers, obsessed with the desire to organize relationships, behaviors, and entire lives around earnestly illogical systems. These stories are sincere yet always surprising, brainy yet always entertaining.


 

"These in-your-face fictions are the epitome of the post-feminist writing we call chick-lit.  Not only are these pieces funny, perplexing, hysterical, histronic, ,loud, astute, disturbing, playful, sharp-edged and scathing, in their frenzy they demonstrate the reange of ideas a woman can write about." —Cris Mazza, author of Is It Sexiual Harassment Yet?


"Like so many of her "chick-lit" peers, James (editor of the on-line Postfeminist Playground) shows a poignant, almost Kerouac-ian faith in the products of her pen--no matter whether the subject is loutish boyfriends, caricatured feminists, the travails of middle-class girlhood, vague fantasies of thrill kills or the questionnaires in women's magazines. Sometimes, in James's case, the rambling pays off in a clever one-liner--as when a pregnant woman considers naming her child Dignity even though "if a girl the obvious porn career, Hot Dignity Dog, made it a bad choice." More often, however, these 19 stories trail off without even that; most could pass for e-mails written to pass a long, uninspired afternoon." —Publisher's Weekly


 

Excerpt


Ricardo has a line for everything:


-they were investigating if she was an unfit mother because her husband had been killed so hideously, and then the investigators too got killed, god knows how.  suspicion turns to the family itself, and if the family is to get away, they will have to drive all the pickup trucks they had lived in, and junior is five, and marta is thirteen.  she will miss her boyfriend.  the mother could hook up a tow line for one of the pickups but not the other, they will have to leave the old ford. dry hot wind blows over the desert while the three people stand around the old truck.  will the radio come out, says marta.  no it's old, says mother, junior can come in my truck.  marta turns away sulking, her mouth bitter and sucking on itself.  this infighting gives the enemy an edge.  women with tits and bushes painted on their clothes who after all were called by rampant female mysticism out of their homey caves.  coming over the desert to enslave them.  bringing the forest with them.  mother drapes a heavy chain over the axle and wraps it around itself twice before tying it to the other truck.  it is hard to tie a chain. then they are ready for the great getaway.


JANE and MARTIN are the new investigators.  of killings and other family dramatics.  here is the murder weapon, says JANE, holding up a meat tenderizing mallet made out of wood.  it seems so whole, says MARTIN, she places it on the desk, squinting up her eyes willfully.  she covered him in bars of soup and put the mallet in a pillowcase.  it's obvious to her what happened. but martin could never figure out anything he is so dumb.  MARTIN'S hair is black and wet but it's only gel.  JANE's hair is beautiful curly red and soft.  she wears grey suits with short skirts, sexy.  she has panty hose with seams, like everyone use to have.  she is behind the times again.  she picks up the murder weapon and waves it throgh the air, hot under her clothes, she makes designs against the wall in the afternoon sunlight.  she will finish the story within the hour, but time passes rapidly in the office, slowly out on the desert, when they are digging through the piles of belongings at the homestead, hoping that someone will stop them, come up and say i know what's going on here, i know what you're doing and what you should do.  JANE's hands are jammed hard around the mallet's handle, both of them, it's the children i'm thinking of she says.