In stories that beckon and haunt, Fruiting Bodies ranges confidently from the fantastical to the gothic to the uncanny, as it follows characters—mostly queer, mostly women—on the precipice of change. In “The Changeling,” two young cousins wait in dread for a new family member to arrive, convinced that he may be a dangerous supernatural creature. In “Endangered Animals,” Jane prepares to say goodbye to her almost-love while they road-trip across a country irrevocably altered by climate change. In the title story, partners Agnes and Geb feast peacefully on the mushrooms that sprout from Agnes’s body—until an unwanted male guest disturbs their cloistered home.
For readers of Carmen Maria Machado and Karen Russell, Fruiting Bodies offers stories about knowledge in a world on the verge of collapse, knowledge that alternately empowers or devastates. Pulling beautifully, brazenly, from a variety of literary traditions, Kathryn Harlan firmly establishes herself as a thrilling new voice in fiction.
Kathryn Harlan is the recipient of the 2019 Derleth Fiction Prize. She received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she now teaches writing. Her work has appeared in the Gettysburg Review, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. Her debut novel is FRUITING BODIES which was release in 2022 by W.W. Norton.