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Splendid Anatomies, Stories, By Allison Wyss book cover

The very peculiar and human characters of Splendid Anatomies (short stories) by Allison Wyss live in, on, and far beyond the periphery, learning to love themselves as they claim and reclaim their bodies. They get tattoos, have radical operations, wear prostheses, even dig bloody veins from their legs. They hack themselves to pieces. But then they stitch themselves back up--in ways that are both glorious and painful. These stories, set in the lands of fables, in other universes, and even the Midwest, are grotesque and gory, menacing and magical, sad, funny, and true celebrations of what it means to live.

Splendid Anatomies was a finalist for the 2022 Shirley Jackson Awards.


Praise for Splendid Anatomies

"With these fierce, slyly funny, and wondrous stories, Allison Wyss offers us a rich meditation on what it means to be in a body with its endlessly renewing cells and its strange, strange mystery. Splendid Anatomies is our world but deliciously tilted, and it contains a veritable menagerie of bodies--human, spider, bird, fish, even ghost. Each of these mesmerizing stories possesses its own splendid anatomy, reminding us with beautiful urgency that storytelling is how we feel our own existence."
-Maud Casey, author of City of Incurable Women

"Allison Wyss's characters and their preoccupations are both distinct and distinctive; the collection as a whole vibrates with compassion and respect for these glorious weirdos, in all their splendidly grotesque forms. Reading Splendid Anatomies is like confronting a funhouse mirror through rose-colored lenses, all manner of warped and awkward angles rendered with with wit and love."
-Erin Kate Ryan, author of Quantum Girl Theory

"In Splendid Anatomies, Allison Wyss examines the inherent strangeness of embodiment in all its forms, the different ways our physicality shapes who we are, and what we understand about ourselves and the world. The collection moves beyond genre to deliver tales that are by turns hilarious, disturbing, and poignant. A truly fascinating read."
-Emily Mitchell, author of The Last Summer of the World

"What a completely unpredictable debut. The further I delved into this collection, the more excited I became, each new story an adventure to embark on, treasures to be uncovered at every turn. Wyss has an innate ability to ensnare us with her innovation, then keep us rapt with her complex, bizarre, and often heartbreaking characters. This book is hopefully just the first of many for this exciting new voice."
-Michael Czyzniejewski, author of I Will Love You for the Rest of My Life: Breakup Stories

"In Splendid Anatomies, among the clear-eyed, sympathetic portrayals of electricians, motel housekeepers, bartenders, failed priests, and tattoo artists going about their lives, one finds sex-starved witches, inter-dimensional travel, talking spiders, a multiverse dripping with yogurt, vampiric earthworms, and ghost particles that actually come from ghosts. This book contains multitudes."
-Tony Earley, author of Jim the Boy and The Blue Star


"Allison Wyss uses surreal humor, vulnerability and sincerity to explore the wonder and absurdity of having a body."
-Kathleen Rooney, review in Minneapolis Star Tribune

"There's Wyss's oddball sense of humor and curiosity, which propels so many of the stories. There's that sharp attention to detail at the sentence level that makes us feel like we're in good hands (or we're being deftly manipulated) no matter how bizarre things get. And most of all, there's that tenderness, that ability to find humanity, and even resiliency, in the absurd and the goopy."
-Susan Pagani, review in Tupelo Quarterly

"Allison Wys's debut book, Splendid Anatomies, collects sixteen short stories that explore themes of physical and emotional boundaries, identity, dissolution, and dismemberment. But not in a grim way. More of a delightful, gently ironic kind of way (with a bit of gore included)."
-M.L. Schultz, review in Water~Stone Review


"When recommending the book to a friend I said that reading it felt, at times, like having a possibly-psychedelic drink with a witch."
-Margaret LaFleur, "What Is and Is Not a Body: The Millions Interviews Allison Wyss"

"The stories casually fixate on corporal modifications and disfigurement, but they are lovingly told with a joy and humor one might expect from a game of Mr. Potato Head."
-Mark Pleiss, "A New World of Bodies: Allison Wyss's Splendid Anatomies"

"They contemplate not navels, but nutsacks--while floating in space."
-A.L. Rowser, "Conversations: Allison Wyss and A.L. Rowser," in The Critical Flame

"Veins and worms are present in abundance."
-Chrissy Kolaya, "Fighting the Good Fight: A Conversation with Allison Wyss," in Hunger Mountain Review

Video: "Virtual Craft Chat on Fiction with Allison Wyss," with Zach Powers at the Writer's Center

"IF MY BOOK" in Monkeybicycle

Q&A with Sundog Lit

Veliz Books

© 2023 Allison Wyss.