Author: Kodi Scheer

+Blog Book Tour+ Incendiary Girls by Kodi Scheer

Posted Thursday, 24 April, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 3 Comments

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Incendiary Girls by Kodi Scheer

Incendiary Girls by Kodi Scheer

Published By: Little A / New Harvest, 8 April, 2014
(in conjunction with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt & Amazon Publishing)
Official Author Websites: Twitter | Facebook | Site
Available Formats: Paperback & E-Book
Page Count: 208

Converse on Twitter: #IncendiaryGirls

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Incendiary Girls” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Little A / New Harvest, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read:

I love researching reincarnation and I have a passion for metaphysical theories and phenom! I like the fact the writer is giving the reader a chance to transcend our own perceptional reality to drink through a portal of a reality veiled from our view! Sounds enriching and thought-provoking! These books are such a rare gift to come across! They exist in a literary realm all on their own! I would think they are almost inside “Magicial Realism”? Which is a genre I am focusing on throughout the year as I read through my Classics Club list!

{+ About the Book +}

Inspired by her studies and interest in science and medicine, Kodi Scheer’s début story collection, INCENDIARY GIRLS explores the ineffable power of healing, where the human body becomes strange and unfamiliar terrain, a medium for transformation. Across the eleven stories, Scheer’s characters grapple with life’s medical maladies, often with a twist of the surreal, and emotions of the everyday – love and loss, confusion, and insecurity.

In the opening story, Fundamental Laws of Nature, a mother (recently diagnosed with breast cancer) is convinced her daughter’s horse is her own mother re-incarnated. With each gallop and jump, her mother’s admonitions are expressed, and she is left to confront her own legacy and mortality. The story is full of heartache and beauty, those tender moments of family that are so affecting one can’t help but see the departed in those around them.

With each step, Scheer interrogates our expectations of reality and pushes logic to its breaking point. In Transplant a heart-transplant recipient converts to Islam, and wonders if it is the new organ that has re-written her personality. In No Monsters Here, the wife of an active-duty soldier faces her own fears when she finds her husband’s ear in the hamper. There is dark humour and vivid imagination at play, but also empathy and sadness.

It’s here too, where international political events – the Iraq war, the Armenian Genocide – are absorbed into Scheer’s surreal landscape. In the title story a mischievous angel chronicles the remarkable like of a girl just beyond death’s reach. From her complicated birth, to fleeting the Armenian Genocide, to surviving the Spanish Flu on a boat bound for America, the angel watches over the girl as she defies the life that was intended for her. In the haunting fabulist tale, When a Camel Breaks Your Heart, a young woman’s would-be fiancé, Mahir, transforms – quite literarily – into a camel. Mahir, once the object of her affection and muse for her art, now embodies the vast differences between their backgrounds as a white American woman and first generation American Muslim, and she is left to figure out how to feed, care, and love someone so different from her.

In INCENDIARY GIRLS, Kodi Scheer weaves together the mundane and the magical to contemplate  the fragility of relationships and our own humanity. With a dose of wry humour and a twist of the absurd, Scheer gets to the heart of the human struggle in these incisive and effecting stories.

Kodi Scheer

{+ About the Author +}

Kodi Scheer teaches writing at the University of Michigan. For her work as writer-in-residence at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, she was awarded the Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service. Her stories have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Iowa Review, and other publications.


Sunday: 27 April @ 7pm KGB Bar Sunday Literary Series 85 E 4th Street New York, NY

Wednesday: 21 May@ 7pm Book Celler Reading & Signing 4736-38 N Lincoln, Ave Chicago, IL

A Brief Note about the Cover:

I was expecting the story involving the reincarnated Mum as a horse to be a white stallion and was most gobsmacked to learn that it was indeed a black Thoroughbred instead? The off-set colours on the cover-art work well together as it eludes to a stark contrast of themes against the backdrop of humanity on the verge of being relayed through Scheer’s arc of story-telling in short installments of narrative. Yet, despite the colour treatment, I am a bit puzzled by the attempt to draw the reader to alight on the crisp alertness of the horse, if the horse itself is not a representation of a character or element of a story contained within the book itself!? Such a beautiful creature to behold when you first pick up the featherweight collection of stories. All equestrians such as I will be left in fond repose!

My Review of Incendiary Girls:

I honestly had difficulty gaining a lead-in to the stories contained in the book because each time I attempted to settle into the rhythm and pace of one of the stories, I felt myself confronted with either a disturbing image or a diversion of where I had thought the short story was going to take me. The one that sort of left a bad aftertaste in my mind was the very brief Miss Universe, which I suppose at its core was trying to empathsis the difference in layers of the human psyche and how far we are willing to take our path towards glory and fame. However, it’s the way in which the author choose to illuminate and illustrate this particular revelation that simply did not float my boat.

The story with the most promise but failed to keep me steady in its grip was the very first one Fundamental Laws of Nature as I could very well see the paradigm shift inside the mother’s heart betwixt by the complexities of what happens towards the end of your life or rather, at the end of a loved one’s life who has transcended this existence and gone into the next chapter wherever that may lie. Yet, I felt disconnected after reading the first page and a half, as though I had misplaced a step in the pacing of its telling. I skipped to the last page and found the mother had recaptured a bit of harmony whilst living through a difficult period of her own life without the grace and nuturement of her mother now passed.

There are elements of what I appreciate in story form shaping into the collection but for me, I found the stories sharpened a bit too keenly and too raw for me to go into the emotional state a reader needs to walk a line to fully capture the message the writer is etching into their words and context of story. The suspension of reality and the essence of where reality merges with the fantastical were two transitions I could accept and wished I could have settled into the heart of what Scheer left behind.

Virtual Road Map of “Incendiary Girls” Blog Tour:

Incendiary Girls
by Kodi Scheer
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Literary Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

on 8th April, 2014

Pages: 208

TLC Book Tours | Tour HostCheck out my upcoming bookish events to see what I will be hosting next!

{SOURCES: Incendiary Girls Book Cover, Author Photograph, and TLC Tour Host badge provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Book Synopsis / About the Book selection, Author Biography, and Tour Dates provided by Little A / New Harvest press release which was enclosed with the book and therefore used with permission.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie

Posted Thursday, 24 April, 2014 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host, Short Stories or Essays, TLC Book Tours