‘Keeping Up With The Other Us’ by Mikaella Clements

Doubles again, this time with an additional trick built in, dealing with not one double but two. Mikaella Clements is so, so funny, and I think she writes stories that you literally wouldn’t find anywhere else, written by anyone else. ‘Keeping Up…’ throws you in at pure horror, as a couple discovers their malevolent doubles have moved in across the road, before pulling the genre rug from under you and allowing the story to become an empathetic study of two relationships. Clements’ work is deeply rooted in queer sensibilities and dynamics and I think that here in particular, her skill is in normalising queer dynamics via horror or magical realism, creating a queer norm in a genre where, more usually, queer-coded monsters are shown as threats to a heterosexual norm. I love the dailiness in this story, the tender mundanity of being in a couple and loving someone, even if that someone happens to be a monster (even if you do too).

Published in Catapult, February 2019, and available to read online here