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Back Talk: Stories (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

With each successive story, I fell deeper and deeper in love with the tender, passionate, elegant and powerful writing of Lazarin’s debut collection. Most of the stories are told from the perspective of a young female in the throes of growing pains of some sort or another. They struggle to establish how they fit in with their contemporary, and therefore, often nontraditional families, while at the same time, are attempting to carve out a space that is uniquely theirs—a place from which they can flout the rules and test the waters of impending adulthood. They are equal parts fear and daring where sex and intimacy are concerned; they long for connection, yet often skeptically retreat from intimacy based on what they’ve observed from the adults in their lives. These young women are fierce, yet vulnerable, strong, yet tender, and we can all learn something from each of them. I loved these stories.

— From Jeanne's Picks


"Beautifully crafted . . . the sentences in these stories are living and seamless, as if Lazarin had run her hand over them until they became smooth and gleaming with the evidence of her touch." --Carmen Maria Machado, The New York Times Book Review

From an award-winning writer, a stunning collection of stories about women's unexpressed desires and needs, and the unexpected ways they resurface

In "Floor Plans," a woman at the end of her marriage tests her power when she inadvertently befriends the neighbor trying to buy her apartment. In "Appetite," a sixteen-year old grieving her mother's death experiences first love and questions how much more heartbreak she and her family can endure. In "Dinosaurs," a recent widower and a young babysitter help each other navigate how much they have to give--and how much they can take--from the people around them.

Through stories that are at once empathetic and unexpected, these women and girls defiantly push the boundaries between selfishness and self-possession. With a fresh voice and bold honesty, Back Talk examines how narrowly our culture allows women to express their desires.

"Deceptively quiet but packs a powerful punch . . . The best collection I've read in years, from a phenomenal new talent." --Celeste Ng

About the Author

Danielle Lazarin's short stories have won grants from New York Foundation for the Arts and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, the Glimmer Train Family Matters Award, and Hopwood Awards. She is a graduate of the writing programs of Oberlin College and the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program. She lives in her native New York City with her husband and daughters.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780143131472
ISBN-10: 0143131478
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: February 6th, 2018
Pages: 256
Language: English