Megafauna: Stories & Screenplay
by Flora K. Schildknecht (2018)
$16 softcover



Praise for Megafauna
This is a fascinating story collection: smart in insight, ferocious about truth, delivered with clarity, steel, and wit. Bad choices, deliberate and otherwise, compose the terrain, and debut author Flora Schildknecht explores it with depth and wisdom unusual in an author so young. The dark side of the human heart is in full nuanced display here. It is nothing short of wonderful to see the anger and self-regard of girls and women fully mounted. A breathtaking debut.
–Julie Brickman,
What Birds Can Only Whisper

Megafauna is a remarkable collection of short fiction, and one screenplay, exploring the intersection of love and violence, yearning and reversal, signaling the arrival of an exciting voice, evocative and edgy, on the literary scene. In these stories often about young women moving tumultuously from innocence to experience—whether in metropolitan Kentucky or a refugee camp in Calais, France—Flora Schildknecht captivates, moves, and unsettles us, reminding us how people struggle to hold each other close as danger lurks around every corner, and often within our own hearts.
–Roy Hoffman,
Come Landfall

In her impressive debut collection of stories (and a screenplay!), Flora Schildknecht anatomizes humans (and other animals) with all of the precision, intelligence, intuition, and imagination of a scientist and an artist working in close collaboration. In one of the stories, Schildknecht writes about a character’s “smile full of teeth that glittered as if she had bitten off pieces of stars from the night sky.” The incisive fiction in Megafauna has this same, brilliant bite.
–Robin Lippincott,
Blue Territory: A Meditation on the Life and Art of Joan Mitchell, Rufus + Syd

Megafauna brims with intelligence and mischief and humor, and with the ravages and unfathomable mysteries of the human heart. In Flora Schildknecht’s powerfully written and deeply felt debut story collection, her characters often neglect to think the worthy thought or to do the decent thing, but in keeping with their emotional and moral frailties, we are cracked open into a place that demands our own honesty. Reading these stories is like stepping among the strange, beautiful, forgiving shadows found under great, old trees–a sense of our aloneness as human inhabitants on this planet against the backdrop of an ancient desire to connect and belong.
–Eleanor Morse,
White Dog Fell from the Sky

With piercing intelligence and moral candor, the writer of Megafauna delivers tales of contemporary life ranging from a migrant camp to a suburban “mommies” club to the wild interior landscape of a child’s first inklings of evil. Wayward, devastating, and lyrical, these narratives walk the line between animal and human, bringing us to the precipice of the moral universe and sometimes beyond, as they test what it means to be alive in the twenty-first century. Like Rebecca Lee, the writer unflinchingly explores the trouble we’re in, at the same time illuminating new horizons of care and tending, perhaps oneself first of all. A brave new book, every page a revelation.
–Elaine Neil Orr,
Swimming Between Worlds

These stories in Flora Schildknecht’s debut collection, Megafauna, are every one edgy, sly, and delicious, a dark, literary wine with hints of Flannery O’Connor, Lorrie Moore, and Lena Dunham. But it is the author’s unmistakable, unique voice that will linger on your palate long after the last savory sentence is downed. Schildknecht uses words in heady ways to construct an immediate, intimate world that is as “lovely and terrifying” as one of her character’s smiles. There is nothing ordinary here, these are people you haven’t seen, doing things you don’t expect—a snake and a child on a stairway, a girl who has inherited only herself, the “raw, violated pink” of sunburn—that are at times subversively hilarious. When the hair on the back of your neck begins to tighten, relax, relish the work; this writer has you safely in hand.
–Lucinda Dixon Sullivan,
It Was the Goodness of the Place
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