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