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

Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman (2017)

by Aimee Parkison

Print: $14.95
EBooK: $9.95



Winner of the FC2 Catherine Doctorow
Innovative Fiction Prize

A darkly comical horror lurks beneath the surface of everyday events in Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman, a seductively poetic story collection of unusual brilliance and rare humor.

EXCERPT: Read an excerpt of Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman here!

In Aimee Parkison’s Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman, lovers find unexpected romance in cramped spaces, fast food addicts struggle through cheeseburger addiction, and the splendor of nature competes with the violence of television. All the while, a complicated and precarious present dawns onto a new world where wealthy women wear children’s eyes as jewelry and those in need of money hawk their faces only to forever mourn what parts of themselves they have sold to survive.
Open the refrigerator door. Inside are antique jars. Open them to hear the music: Beethoven playing piano; slaves singing for freedom in plantation fields; mothers humming lullabies through the night to smallpox babies, knowing this song is the last sound their children will ever hear.
As Stephen Graham Jones notes in his foreword to this prize-winning collection, “The best books . . . fold you into a darkness sparkling with life. They lock you in the refrigerator but they also pipe in some music that never repeats, and when the door starts to open, you cling tight to it, so you can have just a few minutes more. This book, it’ll be over far too fast for you, yes. But even were it five times as thick as it is now, it would still be too short. Remember, though, the best books, they’re loops. They never stop. This one still hasn’t, for me.”


"Parkison makes absurd that which is commonplace by twisting it into abnormality. Lyrical and often abstract, these seemingly linked stories call attention to the grotesque in modern society. . . . Although both the message and the writing are sometimes heavy-handed, it is effective. One is moved equally by the lyricism and repulsiveness and can find beauty in both. A poetic and purposefully perverse collection of stories that describes a dystopian world only slightly divergent from our own."
Kirkus Reviews

"Aimee Parkison is a shrewd, fiery, wildly poetic, politically astute writer of fiction. With Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman, Parkison gifts us with deeply imagined, and often fantastic landscapes, straight from the heart of her unique imagination, but these are always, in part, sharp commentaries on the world we have to inhabit in our daily lives. Parkison’s satirical embrace, and always beautiful language, leaves you more awake to the world and unsettled in all the right ways."
—Jane McCafferty, author of One Heart and First You Try Everything

"In Aimee Parkison’s ingenious collection, words and images ricochet off the walls of the page, defying logic and gravity to expose reality’s invisible footing. A kind of feminist Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, Parkison’s reinvented fables, ghost tales, and murder mysteries demonstrate how absurdist extremes clear a space for the most potent polemic. Only by turning the world on its head can we see it aright: here are recognitions, simultaneously hilarious and grave."
—Mary Cappello, author of Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack