Kathryn Heiny is a fantastic novelist, and I requested this book thinking it was a new novel. Slightly disappointed when I realized it was a set of short stories instead, I nevertheless kept getting trapped by the prose and the characters in each story until I found I had finished the collection in record time. While a few stories left me unmoved, most kept me interested and provided human behavior insight which is my sucker-point (as in I’m a sucker for narratives that include such). From a day in the life of a driving examiner at the DMV to a woman caring for her elderly father to unintentional affairs to pandemic inspired Migraine flairs, this collection hits a lot of human experience points. Fantastic writing, too. I’m including some of her more humorous lines, but suffice it to say that I spent a lot of time snorting with laughter as I read (apologies for the visual).
“Your elderly father has mistaken his four-thousand-dollar hearing aid for a cashew and eaten it.“ (first line of third story)
“Your shirt is stuck to your back, your underpants feel like a piece of hot, wet, spinach, wrapped around your hips.”
“William had begun to worry that he no longer sparked joy in his wife and that she would give him to Goodwill.” (another story first line)
“Some people say time is like a river, but it’s really much more like an accordion, constantly squeezing you back to high school.”
“She resists the urge to shrug her shoulders, to flick the weight of his gaze off like confetti after a New Year’s Eve party.”
Thank you to Knopf and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on April 18th, 2023