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Kirsty Logan

The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales

The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales


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Winner of the Scott Prize

Winner of the 2015 Polari First Book Prize

Winner of the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection

The Herald: Book of the Year 2014

Shortlisted for the 2014 Green Carnation Prize

Twenty tales of lust and loss. These stories feature clockwork hearts, lascivious queens, paper men, island circuses, and a flooded world. On the island of Skye, an antlered girl and a tiger-tailed boy resolve never to be friends – but can they resist their unique connection? In an alternative 19th-century Paris, a love triangle emerges between a man, a woman, and a coin-operated boy. A teenager deals with his sister’s death by escaping from their tiny Scottish island – but will she let him leave? In 1920s New Orleans, a young girl comes of age in her mother’s brothel. Some of these stories are radical retellings of classic tales, some are modern-day fables, but all explore substitutions for love.

Praise for this Book

‘A thrilling walk through a brilliant mind, full of unexpected connections and utterly original leaps across voice, structure, genre. Truly anarchic artistically but always true emotionally, and delivered with the skill of a virtuoso. Read it in one sitting for the thrill then read it again for the smarts.’ —Bidisha

‘Kirsty Logan is an exquisite writer who possesses the uncanny ability to make even the most mundane detail beautifully compelling. If you want to be captivated, if you want to be utterly taken, reach for this book and don’t let go.’ —Roxane Gay

‘(With the Rental Heart Kirsty Logan has formed) a hybrid of steam punk, retro romanticism and queer fiction – a Frankensteinian form that has a life of its own.’ —Ewan Morrison

Reviews of this Book

‘Kirsty Logan has been slated as a writer to watch, and alongside winning the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection, The Rental Heart has been longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. The stories within are inventive, beautiful, and shocking by turn, and the collection is one worthy of praise and awards.’ —Rebecca Burns, Sabotage Reviews

‘Many, many people told me how much I would love The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales and they were all completely right. It is one of those collections that I will return to and simply pick a tale at random and know I will be lost with a whole world after a few sentences. It is also a collection that has grown on me more and more since I read it.’ —Simon Savidge, Savidge Reads

‘Open Kirsty Logan’s debut collection, and you’ll be met first with the title story, which broadly sets the tone for what is to come. The Rental Heart takes us to a version of reality in which people fit themselves with mechanical hearts each time they fall in love – hearts that fail when that love ends. Logan’s narrator talks us through a string of relationships in abstract, evocative language:’ —David Hebblethwaite, Shiny New Books

‘Your body is the story of you—its yearnings, fulfilled and otherwise, what you allow it, what others do to it, what you yourself inflict upon it. The stories in The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, Kirsty Logan’s first book, dwell in the territory of the body. Though the book’s themes are moving and serious, a lively and frank voice lifts the stories from potentially grim territory. The variety in form, from flash fiction and multiple point of view story-sequences, to fairy tale retellings and longer stories clocking in around 15 pages, helps to keep the collection dynamic and delightfully readable. Many of the stories have been published previously and some are award-winners, including the stunning “Witch,” noted in Best Lesbian Erotica 2011.’ —Margaret Luongo, Fiction Southeast

‘The eerie, strange tales in Kirsty Logan’s debut short story collection, The Rental Heart, are love stories of a sort. Some are fairy tales reworked with Logan’s own twist of magic realism, and some are her own invention, but they all linger in the reader’s mind long after the last page is turned. A married man binges on words in secret; a spoiled princess finds herself caught in a fairy tale that isn’t hers; a teenage girl enters the woods for a dare and falls in love with Baba Yaga. In luscious, vivid prose, Logan – already a rising star on the Scottish literary scene – brings to mind Angela Carter, or Atwood or Winterson at their best.’ —Kaite Welsh, The Independent

‘This book has everything you could want from a short story collection: creativity, imagination, beautifully descriptive phrasing, honest exploration of a variety of themes, and time in the company of a multitude of intriguing and well-crafted characters. I would highly recommend it. ’ —Drifting Pages

‘There are few things in this world better than a carefully crafted short story. They never outstay their welcome; simply make their mark and leave you wanting more. They also allow a writer to show a range of styles and touch upon many different themes. Kirsty Logan’s recent collection, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, is packed with prime examples of the form; memorable snapshots of lives less ordinary.’ —Alistair Braidwood, The Bottle Imp

‘As you can tell from my enthusiastic attempt to untangle the meaning of these stories, despite their relative brevity they contain a wealth of ideas. Kirsty Logan is very clever in the way she uses a range of writer’s tools to create the most effect style of storytelling to fit the diverse subject matters she covers. Having been a teenage lover of absurdist drama, I’m thrilled by the way she warps reality in her prose to stimulate the imagination. She crafts disarming images that are imbued with unusual meaning. “The Rental Heart and Other Stories” is a fantastically refreshing read and leaves you thinking about things in a new way. These stories have picked up awards and been included on prize lists both individually and as a collection itself which is a testament to their good quality. ’ —Eric Karl Anderson, Lonesome Reader

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