I'm thrilled to announce a new short story collection, co-written with Aimee Parkison and published by Fiction Collective Two. Girl Zoo is a series of loosely linked stories, organized around the concept of confinement and coercion. In each story, a woman or a girl struggles to escape a cage, sometimes literal (hot car, hot seat, hot pants) and sometimes figurative (a gaslighting lover, a corporate ladder). Aimee and I wrote most of the stories together, but several pieces were solo works, which allowed us to expand the boundaries of our usual styles. Together, supporting each other as artists and as female-identified creatures, we got graphic in this collection. While there are beautiful, lyrical moments, much of the book is brutal, blood-spattered, angry, raw. It's also funny, if ballooning breasts and dick jokes and creepy first dates and mansplaining are funny. You tell me! Think Hannah Gadsby's Nanette. Think Etgar Keret's Suddenly, A Knock on the Door. You can pre-order Girl Zoo on Amazon here; the book will be released on February 19, 2019. I'm grateful to Lance Olsen and Lidia Yuknavitch for blurbs that make me want to read their books all over again:
"Part dark angry fairytales, part avant-gothic myths, part surreal fever dreams, and always genuinely unique, Girl Zoo is a remarkable collaborative collection of concentrated narraticules about 56 captive women who are the same woman, not the same woman, and not not the same woman. Aimee Parkison and Carol Guess explore the thematics of the commodified and controlled female subject, complicating the problem, nuancing it, metaphorizing it so the reader sees it always anew, yet never offering any easy way out. The rhythms, syntax, vocabulary, and meta-logic feel childlike, yet the content remains relentlessly bloody, violent, somehow naively (and, of course, not naively at all) dangerous to the bone."
—Lance Olsen, author of Dreamlives of Debris
“Girl Zoo is a breathtaking journey inside the cold hard facts of gender and sexual incarceration. Taking the "woman as object" trope to its logical extreme, these stories stage a break-in and dare the reader to imagine what it would take for women and girls to break out of the very narratives that keep us caged. A triumph of the imaginal in the face of a culture that would see us silenced, dead, and gone. Read these girls, change your life.”
—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan