What would you do if your child was a furry feral creature or your new love interest a potential serial killer (or worse, a fictitious cliché)? In The Odious Child, Carolyn Black invents her own blend of urban fantasy, crafting a unique storyscape that she populates with a series of mostly nameless figures who are trapped in social roles that they anxiously try to fulfill - and sometimes manage to escape. With a refreshingly clear voice and dark, offbeat sense of humour, Black tempers her incisive examination of contemporary frustration and loneliness with wry optimism and wit.close this panel
[I]t's been awhile since I've read a book that's made me curious enough to go search the author out for some illumination. Carolyn Black's first book is one of the strongest debuts I've ever encountered. ... She writes like no one else I've ever read, like a writer who's standing on the shoulders of nobody, her stories' own foundations are so very solid.
--Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This
The Odious Child is very different from other short fiction collections I've read this year. It is more revealing than most, but not in ways you'd expect. Carolyn Black has offered up a slate of diverse dysfunctions in need of a strong, reprimanding hand--one she is more than willing to provide. In doing so, she has also given us one of the most open and naked collections of short fiction I've read in some time.
--Andrew Wilmot, Backlisted Blog
There is pure genius present here, I promise you. Carolyn's prose is impeccable, her word choice fitting, her stories strong and orderly and beautifully spare. It's such a fantastic thing, writing that is both efficient yet so very rich!
--Bella's Bookshelf Blog
The Odious Child is an alluring portrait of the magic of the mind to twist and tense under the conditioning of a fractured city. Black's work here evinces the kind of spirited control that gets my gears turning, and her ability to zero in on details, the myriad tiny fragments of thought and life, ensure that in me she has enchanted a perpetually devoted reader.
--E. M. Keeler, Bookside Table Blog