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From debut fiction writer Carla Crujido comes a delicately intertwined, fairytale-inspired collection of short stories. Part vivid historical drama, part melancholy fever dream, The Strange Beautiful centers on Mount Vernon Apartments in Spokane, Washington, offering a glimpse into the lives of 10 tenants over a period of 100 years. 


In the opening story, "The Songbird," we meet the building's caretaker, a WWI veteran trying to rebuild his life amidst the Spanish flu pandemic. “In The Telephone,” a 21st-century poet's longing for a bygone era nurtures a friendship that transcends time. A 1930s department store mannequin navigates the challenges of womanhood in the surreal, darkly humorous tale, "The Mannequin." And in "The Suitcase," an exhausted woman scrambles to tidy up her boyfriend's unprocessed emotions, which have materialized inside boxes all over the apartment.


As we witness the quiet but fraught moments of the tenants' everyday lives, these uncanny narratives create a world that is at once familiar and fantastic. A striking portrait of a city not often depicted in literature, The Strange Beautiful leads us through the streets of Spokane and the similarly evolving internal landscapes of these ten characters. Crujido's masterful storytelling shows us how a single place can hold a myriad of histories, how our lives are interconnected with strangers, and how our collective tales are forever repeating.

The Strange Beautiful by Carla Crujido

  • ISBN: 9781634050531

    Publication Date: 10/24/2023

    Pages: 207

    Size: 5.125(w) x 7.625(h) x 0.5 in

    Type: Paperback

    Language: English

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