Fat Girl, Terrestrial is proof giants still walk the earth and Kellie Wells is one of that visionary breed. Wells has always stood at ease in the tall company of Flannery O’Connor and John Kennedy Toole. But in this novel her tsunami of gorgeous lingua Americana engulfs every art form. It is music and image, soaring idea and grounded intellect, hurtling drama, spirit and flesh, and every known angle — from delicate to brutal — of comedy. Magnificent.
Fat Girl, Terrestrial
Not only the story of a colossus of a woman living in Kansas, Fat Girl, Terrestrial is also a meditation on God, treachery, and blind love.
In Kingdom Come, Kansas, a town from which children once mysteriously disappeared, there lives a giant woman. Wallis Armstrong is not a pituitary mutant or a person battling a rare medical condition; she’s just an improbably large woman ill at ease in a world built for shrimps. Paradoxically, Wallis builds miniatures of crime scenes, and her specialty is staged suicides. She constructed her first diorama as a child when a boy in her fourth-grade class went suddenly missing. Wallis’s brother, Obie, believes the only explanation for his sister’s amplitude is that she is the incarnation of God on Earth, and he is her one true ardent disciple. Until he too disappears.
Kellie Wells’s story of Wallis’s odyssey through this tight-fitting world is a churlish meditation on the existence and nature of God as well as an exploration of the treachery of childhood and the destructive nature of the most blindly abiding kind of love: that of a love-struck brother for a big sister, a disciple for an unwilling prophet, and a bone-weary god for a savage and disappointing flock.
Even in a crowded field, it is a rare pleasure to come across a prose stylist like Kellie Wells, whose intellect and language bid one another beautifully to a dance. She dares to be at play in the most unsettling questions of her day. Surely when the present generation of writers shakes down to its unique and irreplaceable voices, Kellie Wells will be one of them.