Within the thirteen stories of Whitney Collins’s Big Bad dwells a hunger that’s dark, deep, and hilarious. Part domestic horror, part flyover gothic, Big Bad serves up real-world predicaments in unremarkable places (motels, dormitories, tiki bars), all with Collins’s heart-wrenching flavor of magical realism. A young woman must give birth to future iterations of herself; a widower kills a horse en route to his grandson’s circumcision; a conflicted summer camper is haunted by a glass eye and motorcycle crash. Collins’s cast of characters must repeatedly choose to fight or flee the “big bad” that dwells within us all.
Winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, and boasting a 2020 Pushcart-winning story, Big Bad simultaneously entertains and disconcerts.