The Changeling House, by Nora Kipnis-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

The Changeling House, by Nora Kipnis

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Nora Kipnis
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Prose, chapbook, 32 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

What happens when we apply the idea of the uncanny to the structures whose stability we rely upon the most? The micro fictions in The Changeling House lend rich imagery to the abstract idea of the house as psyche. Fragmented by dream logic but unified by a single narrator moving through them in sequence, the stories in this collection hold up a surrealistic mirror to the architectures of the real world. As the narrator alternately occupies, dreams of, and is alienated from these houses, they become containers for dichotomies of isolation and community, aspiration and desperation, safety and fear, nourishment and hunger, work and rest, hope and memory.

The Changeling House has repeating houses, houses under renovation, architecturally experimental houses, stranger’s houses, whorehouses, haunted houses, schoolhouses, neighboring houses, lush gardens, empty swimming pools, crumbling mansions, money pits, filthy rentals, temporary roommates, famous ghosts, and cannibal communes. These chimerical houses are by turns frightening, humorous, and enraging. There are many houses in this collection but there is also only one house, taking different forms, improving and decaying, concealing and revealing, expanding and contracting, all filtered through a transgressive ambivalence around the human eagerness to claim space. The houses described in The Changeling House are an illumination of the architecture of the mind, and an examination of the spatial politics from which even our dreams are not exempt.

Nora Kipnis is an essayist and fiction writer. She received her MFA in writing from Washington University in St. Louis. Her writing has appeared in The Southeast Review, DIAGRAM, Rivet, Juked, and elsewhere.