Amelia Gray’s Threats


Once I read Amelia Gray’s first novel, Threats.

I wanted to read it because I like threats, since they connote violence. I also wanted to read it because Amelia Gray is such a pretty name. Four out of the six letters in Amelia are vowels, the prettiest variety of letters. And gray is one of the best colors, being the color the sky turns when it’s stormy out.

The stars of the novel are a husband and wife, David and Franny. It was really refreshing to see a novel about a traditional husband-and-wife couple, especially nowadays, with so many liberal losers French kissing the tushies of same-sex couples.

Being traditional (i.e not a bisexual weirdo) is not synonymous with being bland. David and Franny are quite exceptional. A former dentist, David had “a keen ability to sense weakness prior to its development.” David can foresee when a tooth is about to be terrible before it actually is terrible. As for Franny, she’s dead. Being dead is much more special than being alive. Randi Zuckerberg, Sherly Sandberg, Kenneth Goldsmith — they’re all alive. Are they special? No.

Amelia’s narration of the peculiar couple’s tale is lucid. Using neatly constructed moments, Amelia discloses how eerie this boy and girl are. There’s one scene in which David takes out all of the old, neglected freezer food and starts to put it in his tummy. “There were bricks of ground beef fuzzed over with frost,” says Amelia, in a splendid sentence, where two words begin with “b,” two words start with “f,” and every word but one is a taut syllable.

Franny, who worked at a salon before dying, met her husband at the grocery store. The grocery store is an endearing place. It’s where one purchases hot cocoa, cookies, and other delicious delicacies.

Besides Franny and David, Amelia’s story contains lots of other captivating characters. There’s a contemplative popo named Chico, a girl who resides in David’s wasp-wrought garage, and a boy in search of sugar cereal.

As for the threats that David continues to uncover, you should read Amelia’s book to find out about them.

Author Spotlight / 5 Comments
November 20th, 2013 / 1:35 pm


Composing the Decomposed: A Review of Amelia Gray’s Threats

by Amelia Gray
FSG Originals, February 2012
288 pages / $14  Buy from Amazon








You’re in someone else’s body but you’re not really in someone else’s body, you’re in your own body, lying next to someone else’s body. “An embarrassment of childhood odor” – is it coming from your body? – steams around you, and you may or may not be wearing a fireman’s suit. This is what it feels like when Franny dies.

Franny: a large woman who wears five layers of lipstick and “smells like stones.” Franny: your wife. How she died, although you were there with her when she did, remains a mystery, even to you. A mystery: this is what it feels like to live.

This is also what it feels like to read Amelia Gray’s debut novel, Threats, out from Farrar, Straus and Giroux last month. To read it is to succumb to the emotional torpor and physical disorientation that is life after the death of a loved one. This means: a fair amount of hallucination, an undertone of deep sadness, intermittent boredom, and shots of curious paranoia. This means: laughing out loud and worrying that you shouldn’t be laughing because, hello, someone died and life is sad. This means: being as confused as David (our numb hero) is when he receives the “threats” the book is named for, finding a terrifying note in the crack behind the mirror, not worrying about what it means, or else worrying a lot, wondering who the hell has left it for you, who might be out to get you, and if Franny might be – tragically, for that would mean she’s left you – still alive.


Comments Off on Composing the Decomposed: A Review of Amelia Gray’s Threats
April 13th, 2012 / 12:00 pm

Today seems quiet. Everyone is probably packing?

Threats by Amelia Gray is out, and I can tell you it’ll do to your head/brain/skull all things promised, and more. (I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy, borrowed from someone who had borrowed it [now I have my own], but it is available HERE)

Picador has been reprinting the novels of Donald Antrim with new intros: George Saunders (The Verificationist), Jonathan Franzen (The Hundred Brothers), and Jeffrey Eugenides (Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World). Elect Mr. Robinson… will be out this June.

Kaleidoscope is a randomized novella by Jianyu Pên.

Madras Press recently released a special edition of “Stone Animals” by Kelly Link, with illustrations and a letterpressed cover.

The second issue of The Coffin Factory just came out, with work by Aimee Bender, Lydia Davis, Edwidge Danticat, Justin Taylor, Adam Wilson, etc. (more later)

The Guggenheim has digitized many of its (out-of-print) publications.

Redivider FINALLY (yes I’m calling you out) has an updated website with the new issue, featuring the talented Mike Young, Mary Miller, J.A. Tyler, Melissa Broder, etc. The cover is nice:

Some of these things will be available at AWP. Do you think someone will write a blog post soon called “AWP recap?” What if that didn’t happen?

Author News & Roundup & Web Hype / 9 Comments
February 28th, 2012 / 6:03 pm

Mega congratulations to Amelia Gray on selling her third book, tentatively titled THREATS, to FSG! What you know about dat????????? Screwed up clique on the rise.

Amelia Gray threatened an audience at a reading. The New Republic wrote about it.