“History,” writes Veronica Schanoes, “is a fairytale.”
These words come at the midway point of Schanoes debut short story collection, Burning Girls and Other Stories. The subtitle kicks off a particularly sharp-toothed tale in which the legendary anarchist Emma Goldman takes a brooding cup of tea with the equally legendary (if somewhat less well-sourced) Baba Yaga.
But the statement also serves a broader purpose, acting as a coalescing thesis for the philosophy of Burning Girls—the idea that what lies behind us, in newspapers, and photographs, textbooks and personal memories, is not just fiction. It is, instead, a fluid and magical text, a spellbook from which our futures are conjured.