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ADMIT THIS TO NO ONE by Leslie Pietrzyk Kirkus Star


by Leslie Pietrzyk

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-951213-41-1
Publisher: Unnamed Press

A collection of stories set in Washington, D.C., full of scandal and insider details.

"Official DC is mindful of insignificant beginnings, of small decisions that escalate into epic downfalls. Five men break into an office one June night in 1972. A pretty girl wears a blue dress from the Gap." And in Pietrzyk's razor-sharp version of the city, the insignificant beginning is a 15-year-old girl going to meet her father at the bar in the Kennedy Center. Her father turns out to be the Speaker of the House, and their meet-up ends with both of them on the way to the hospital following an attack. Eight of the remaining stories circle around this incident and these characters. At an art opening in Durham, North Carolina, the speaker's estranged adult daughter by a previous marriage hears of the attack and jumps in the car to drive up to Washington with her much younger boyfriend. The speaker's top staffer, who has been cleaning up his messes for decades, learns of the stabbing and rushes to the hospital to manage the potential collision of present and former wives and numerous half siblings. Interspersed with the speaker stories are five bonus tracks with different characters, several dealing directly with issues of White privilege. "People Love a View," a particularly interesting one, places a couple on their first date at the scene of a traffic stop with a cop who's "a Hollywood stereotype" and an older Black man with a big dog in the car. "Wait. Shouldn't I film this?" asks the woman, and sure enough, a terrible series of events, though not the ones we expect, unfolds. "Green in Judgment," set entirely in a grocery checkout line, torques its drama with metafictional techniques, each section given a label such as "Every story needs a villain, possibly more than one if the story is eighteen pages or longer," "Every story needs one bad decision," and "Every story needs one coincidence. (Only one)."

An exciting collection bristling with intelligence, political awareness, and psychological complexity.