when mystical creatures attack
Are you influenced by the cover as well?
I was too, at first (I judge books by their covers before anything else, all the time). When I saw this novel available for early review from the University of Iowa Press, I was tempted to request it based on the cover alone. But then I backed off, until I started seeing glowing reviews by other early reviewers and decided to take it on.
I understand the comparisons to Karen Russell. Like I've found with Russell, Founds' story seemed, at first, lighthearted, witty, silly weirdness but then slowly became infused with darker and more depressing themes.
This novel is epistolary, primarily in the form of emails or writing exercises. The writing exercises feels pertinent here, since throughout much of the book I kept thinking that the different entries felt like a linked collection of writing exercises created from prompts in a creative writing class. Every entry feels like an experiment with different writing forms and of points of view. This isn't necessarily a negative criticism, but approach cautiously if you'd prefer a more straightforward narrative and feel uncomfortable not knowing what's going on for the first quarter or so of each section you read.
I enjoyed the inventiveness of this novel. It's dark, funny, depressing, clever, thoughtful.