Behind the Yellow Wallpaper: New Tales of Madness (New Lit Salon Press, 2014) is an apropos title for a 21st century manifestation of the madness established by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Behind the Yellow Wallpaper consists of fifteen works that balance originality while understanding their fiction writing Mothers such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Shirley Jackson, Kate Chopin. An example is Tracie Orsi’s “Waiting for Jordan,” which employs Chopin’s ending to The Awakening in the context of a wife fighting internally to endure her husband’s deployment to Iraq.
But do not think that the women in these stories passively suffer and they are definitely not victims. Quite the contrary in Gabriela Denise Frank’s story “Pas de Deux” and Leah Chaffins’s “Last Caress” which feature female killers. Madness, however, does not always mean inflicting pain on others. Laura Hartenberger’s story “The Ideal Customer,” for instance, focuses on an office worker tired of her job creating templates. To break free from the confinement of templates: she gets a face tattoo.
If you enjoy the grotesque and uncanny—what better ways to express contemporary life?—then you should immediately pick up a copy of Behind the Yellow Wallpaper.
Reviewed by Hardy Jones
Hardy Jones, co-author of Wal-Mart Girl, is also the author of the novel Every Bitter Thing (Black Lawrence Press, 2010) and the forthcoming memoir People of the Good God (Mongrel Empire Press). His essay “Dry Gumbo” and short story “A New Bike for Little Mike” were nominated for 2015 Pushcart Prizes. His creative nonfiction has been awarded two grants. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in journals such as the Red Truck Review, Louisiana Folklife Journal, Litterbox Magazine, The Straitjackets, Driftless Review, Dark Sky Magazine, The Furnace Review, and The Jabberwock Review. His short stories were anthologized in the 2009 Dogzplot Flash Fiction Anthology, The Best of Clapboard House Literary Journal, Southern Gothic: New Tales of the South, and Summer Shorts II. He is the co-founder and Executive Editor of the online journal Cybersoleil (www.cybersoleiljournal.com), and he is the Flash Fiction Editor of Sugar Mule (http://www.sugarmule.com/index2.htm). Hardy Jones is an Associate Professor of English and the Director of Creative Writing at Cameron University (firstname.lastname@example.org). His website is www.hardyjoneswriting.com and he is on Twitter @HardyJonesWrite. Hardy splits his time between Lawton, Oklahoma and Si Sa Ket Province Thailand.