Saturday, May 25, 2024

Craft: Stories I Wrote for the Devil by Ananda Lima


At a Halloween party in 1999, a writer slept with the devil. She sees him again and again throughout her life and writes stories for him about things both impossible and true. Stories I Wrote for the Devil lures readers into surreal pockets of the United States and Brazil, where they’ll find bite-size Americans in vending machines and the ghosts of living people. Ananda Lima speaks to modern Brazilian-American immigrant experiences―of ambition, fear, longing, and belonging―and reveals the porousness of storytelling and of the places we call home.

I wanted to love this book. It's clever in theory but the execution left something to be desired. 
It started off well enough, at a Halloween party where a woman is waiting for the man she loves who is actually in a relationship with her friend. How depressing right? 

While she is waiting she meets the devil himself who offers to split up the happy couple and shows that he can do it. After spending a night together she continues to see the devil in various spots...and she writes stories.
I would have preferred it if she just told those stories in a linear fashion. Instead the stories are broken up in a disjointed way. There are pages of story critiques that serve only as an interruption.

The devil was charming and I would have liked him to play a larger role.
I did enjoy some of the stories, especially Antropofaga in which tiny humans are purchased as snacks from a vending machine among all the other junk foods.
And Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory where someone's ultimate hell is Penn Station.

This was just an ok read for me. You may enjoy it more than I did.

3 out of 5 stars

My thanks to Tor Books 

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