Combining the gritty surrealism of David Lynch with the explosive interior meditations of Clarice Lispector, the stories in Elvira Navarro’s Rabbit Island traverse the fickle, often terrifying terrain between madness and freedom. In the title story, a so-called “non-inventor” conducts an experiment on an island inhabited exclusively by birds and is horrified by what the results portend. “Myotragus” bears witness to a man of privilege’s understanding of the world being violently disrupted by the sight of a creature long thought extinct. Elsewhere, an unsightly “paw” grows from a writer’s earlobe; an obese grandmother floats silently in the corner of a room.
These eleven stories from one of Granta’s “Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists” are psychogeographies of dingy hotel rooms, shape-shifting cities, and graveyards. They act as microscopes fixed upon the regions of our interior lives we often neglect, where the death of God and the failures of institutions have given way to alternative modes of making sense of the world. They are cracked bedroom mirrors. Do you like what you see?