Chuck Palahniuk said something about writing that echoed in my head while reading the debut collection of dysfunctional short stories in Daddy’s (Featherproof) by Lindsay Hunter. I paraphrase, but it goes something like this: “Teach me something, make me laugh, and break my heart.” And that’s what Lindsay Hunter does in this gut-wrenching collection of short fiction, with a sprinkling of hot sex and familial violence on top.

Out There

People burn cars out there. My father took us out there when I was 11 and we burned GranGran’s car, him shaking the lighter fluid over the hood and up against the sides like he was seasoning it, then he let me and Lily toss the lighter through the passenger window but we had to promise to run as soon as it left our hands. Less you want me to roll you in hot sauce and eat you like a crispy wing, you’ll run your little asses fast as you can. We kept our promise and felt the fire at our backs but didn’t get to see it start, when we turned around it was going like it’d been alive forever.

Lindsay, how annoyed is your father that you named your book Daddy’s?

Well, smartypants, the truth is that Daddy’s isn’t named after or about my dad, nor is it homage to him; however this didn’t stop him from informing me that I needed to make sure to tell everyone that he’s “the one true Daddy.” So I think he’s secretly titillated, maybe even proud, at the thought of Daddy’s being a thinly veiled tell-all about my childhood or my relationship with him. He hasn’t read the book; once he does he may regret that statement, after he stops barf-weeping that is.