A ballet dancer can't escape an unwanted suitor—even after death. Three sisters live by a strict etiquette book in an abandoned house, until one of them starts to question why. Two children venture into the treacherous forest to find their missing bird-guardian. A magician struggles to find a cure for the plague descending on her city before it's too late.
Emily B. Cataneo's debut fiction collection is rife with the decayed grandeur of old Europe, girls who love and loathe ghosts, and magic that comes with a price. These stories, many of which have appeared on year's best longlists, span the gamut from soft science fiction to noir, to high fantasy and everything in between. They unfold in settings rendered both beautiful and sinister: a wintry post-Revolution Russia, a gossipy New England town, a lonely bathhouse where robots go to die.
As the characters in these tales live out their lives, from childhood to death and beyond, they search for meaning, connection, and safety, struggling to transcend their circumstances and ultimately grappling with the question: how far will they go to escape?