BACK TALK by Danielle Lazarin
Kirkus Star


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This exquisite debut short story collection speaks to the ways women and girls define themselves and delineate their paths.

A teenage girl acclimating to her mother’s death and its effect on her family leaps into the bracing waters of first love. A woman absorbing the end of her marriage forges a friendship with the woman next door whose choices and losses shed light on her own. Another young woman takes in a boyfriend’s departure by connecting with a stranger and taking stock of the things her ex has taught her, the bits of knowledge he has left behind, and the aspects of herself that remain. A teenager and the widower whose young children she babysits connect across the empty space his wife has left behind. The protagonists of Lazarin’s stories—daughters, mothers, siblings, girlfriends, wives—are gauging their strengths and soft spots, the ways in which they are independent and intertwined with those around them, their appetites for and aversions to risk and heartache, the truths they choose to know and those they cannot escape. These young women and girls—many of them white, middle-class New Yorkers, some living in the city, others outside of it—have their own particular interests and quirks, their own experiences and inclinations, their own losses and hopes with which to contend. Yet readers may see in them glimpses of their own stories and struggles, their own choices about how and when to act. “It’s my hope that this book adds to a conversation about the importance of women’s stories, of the domestic, of the subtle and often unspoken ways women care for each other and ourselves,” Lazarin writes in the advance galley of the book. Mission accomplished.

Sensitive, intricate, and quietly powerful, Lazarin’s stories give voice to women learning to live on their own terms.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-14-313147-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2018


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