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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
False Bingo

False Bingo

Stories

Jac Jemc

MCD x FSG Originals

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Named a Fall Read by The Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune

The mundane becomes sinister in a disquieting story collection from the author of The Grip of It

In Jac Jemc’s dislocating second story collection, False Bingo, we watch as sinister forces—some supernatural, some of this earth, some real and some not—work their ways into the mundanity of everyday life.

In “Strange Loop,” an outcast attempting to escape an unnamed mistake spends his days taxiderming animals, while in “Delivery,” a family watches as their dementia-addled, basement-dwelling father succumbs to an online shopping addiction. “Don’t Let’s” finds a woman, recently freed from an abusive relationship, living in an isolated vacation home in the South that might be haunted by breath-stealing ghosts.

Fueled by paranoia and visceral suspense, and crafted with masterful restraint, these seventeen stories explore what happens when our fears cross over into the real, if only for a fleeting moment. Identities are stolen, alternate universes are revealed, and innocence is lost as the consequences of minor, seemingly harmless decisions erupt to sabotage a false sense of stability. “This is not a morality tale about the goodness of one character triumphing over the bad of another,” the sadistic narrator of “Pastoral” announces. Rather, False Bingo is a collection of realist fables exploring how conflicting moralities can coexist: the good, the bad, the indecipherable.

ANY OTHER


He found her already seated at the coffee shop.

“It’s so nice to finally meet you.” He held out his hand.

Bethany paused before accepting.

“I’m Keith,” he said once her fingers were wrapped...

Praise for False Bingo

"Jemc’s electric, nimble collection plumbs its characters’ most intimate relationships and unearths potent hidden truths . . . . Many of these stories are only a few pages, allowing Jemc to deliver a range of payoffs, some unsettling, some poignant, all evocative. This constantly shifting collection will leave readers beguiled." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Jemc's stories revel in disquiet . . . Jemc's insistence on her stories' rights not to resolve their dilemmas is the thread that binds this book together . . . [False Bingo will] delight [a reader] willing to learn how these particular stories want to be read. Tense, well-imagined." --Kirkus

"20 electrifying short stories, some no longer than a few pages, but every one odd and memorable for wildly different reasons . . . A writer compared to Shirley Jackson and Henry James, Jemc continues to solidify her standing as a talented writer of the uncanny, the horrifying, and the hilarious." --Booklist

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Reviews from Goodreads

Jac Jemc

Jac Jemc is the author of My Only Wife, a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award; the short-story collection A Different Bed Every Time; and the novel The Grip of It, named a finalist for the Chicago Review of Books Award for Fiction and a recommended read by NYLON, W, Marie Claire, and Entertainment Weekly. She teaches at Northeastern Illinois University and StoryStudio Chicago, as well as online at Writers & Books and the Loft Literary Center, and she is the web nonfiction editor for Hobart.

image of Jac Jemco
Jared Larson