The BookWalker's Top Pick titles includes works of bestselling authors and emerging writers. Titles were selected and voted by our staff. Please note: the selection process is heavily biased but fairly influenced by personal preference and the editor's opinions.
““The stories in Black Light are grimy and weird, surprising, utterly lush. . . . I loved every moment of this book.”
―Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties.
This is the story
With raw, poetic ferocity, Kimberly King Parsons exposes desire’s darkest hollows—those hidden places where most of us are afraid to look. In this debut collection of enormously perceptive and brutally unsentimental short stories, Parsons illuminates the ache of first love, the banality of self-loathing, the scourge of addiction, the myth of marriage, and the magic and inevitable disillusionment of childhood.
Taking us from hot Texas highways to cold family kitchens, from the freedom of pay-by-the-hour motels to the claustrophobia of private school dorms, these stories erupt off the page with a primal howl—sharp-voiced, acerbic, and wise.
Reviews and What Readers Say
“ “Fantastic . . . enchanting yowls from a big and wild Texas. . . . Parsons’ is an exhilarating, enchanting, charming and irresistible new voice. Imagine the punk rock stylings of the criminally underappreciated Jeff Parker. Add the full-throated roar of weird Karen Russell, plus the deft sparkle of Denis Johnson and all of the gesturing and spooky direction of Carmen Maria Machado. This is real-deal fiction. You’ll want more. . . . Occasionally a debut collection lands with such a wet, happy thud that you immediately start imagining the rest of the writer’s long career. It’s good luck that in this case Parsons is slated for at least one novel.”
―Nathan Deuel, Los Angeles Times
“ [A] wild and compassionate debut collection. . . . [Parsons] writes with the unpredictable power of a firecracker, bringing flashes of illumination to people who struggle with disappointment, both in themselves and others. Every story in this collection is beyond remarkable, and Parsons proves herself to be a gutsy country-punk poet with a keen eye and a stubbornly unique sensibility.”
―Michael Schaub, NPR
“ Just keeps getting better as you turn the pages. . . . Wisdom and humor are so thick on the ground you could find a sentence worth quoting on every page. . . . Comparisons have been made to Denis Johnson, Karen Russell, Carmen Maria Machado . . . and we’ll add Angela Carter. The Angela Carter of Lubbock, Texas.”
“ An incredibly satisfying reading experience. . . . Perhaps the greatest strength of this collection lies in its weird, eerie, and sublimely beautiful details of setting and character. . . . Vividly rendered in a Texas setting that bursts off the page like Fourth of July fireworks. Black Light demands the attention of all the reader’s senses. ”
―Sarah Neilson, Electric Literature
Black Light: Stories by Kimberly King Parsons
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Born in Lubbock, Texas, Kimberly King Parsons received her MFA from Columbia University. Her fiction has been published in The Paris Review, Best Small Fictions 2017, Black Warrior Review, No Tokens, Ninth Letter, and The Kenyon Review, among others.