Kit Reed, Author of Darkly Humorous Fiction, Dies at 85

“They are, after all, in this together,” she wrote. “Hunter and hunted. Instrument and destiny, for every great pursuit demands the cooperation of both parties. For every Jean Valjean there is a Javert and if either died the other would be desolate. Imagine Ahmed and Rushdie, the perfection of pursuit and flight. Neither exists without the other.”

Photo

A 2004 novel by Ms. Reed that satirizes the slimming industry and the modern preoccupation with body image.

Ms. Reed saw herself as a writer of speculative fiction who trafficked not in aliens or flying saucers but in quirky, fantastic and tough-minded leaps from the realities of contemporary culture. In one novel, “Thinner Than Thou” (2004), she satirizes a modern preoccupation with body image; in “The Night Children” (2008), runaway children live in a shopping mall and come out only at night.

Rather than feel bound to science fiction, Ms. Reed saw herself as part of a group of imaginative writers that included Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury and George Orwell.

“For me,” she told The Hartford Courant in 2011, “it’s a great big literary ballpark.”

In Ms. Reed’s first published story, “The Wait” (1958) — which evokes Shirley Jackson as well as Stephen King — a mother falls ill in a small Southern town, leaving her teenage daughter, Miriam, to become part of a bizarre ritual involving 18-year-old virgins.

“When they came to the field,” Ms. Reed wrote, “Miriam first thought the women were still busy at a late harvest, but she saw that the maidens, scores of them, were just sitting on little boxes at intervals in the seemingly endless field.” When the frightened Miriam asked why she was there, a woman tells her little more than “Remember, the man must be a stranger.”

One of her more famous stories, “The Attack of the Giant Baby” (1976), follows…

Read the full article at the Original Source..

Back to Top