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Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-19194-8
Bynum’s sparkling, transcendent latest (after Ms. Hempel Chronicles) follows the big decisions and minutiae that make up the messy lives of her characters. Each story is delicate and dazzling in its own way—this is the rare collection where each entry is as good as the one that came before it. The title story follows a father’s desperate attempts to understand his young daughter through the lens of her pink-hued Instagram feed. In “The Bears,” a writer attends a rural residency while recovering from the trauma of a miscarriage; there, she doesn’t write, and on her long walks becomes obsessed with a gorgeous nearby house and its mysterious occupant. “Julia and Sunny” chronicles the dissolution of a once-solid marriage from the biased perspective of the couple’s closest friends, another married couple. And in the sublime “Many a Little Makes,” three school friends explore their differences in race, body type, and varying degrees of sexual experimentation. The stories hum with thrilling detail and are touched here and there by small hints of magic, such as a young girl imagining a stranger at a party will give her a gift (“A surprise that is small and very delicate, like a music box, but when you open it, it goes down and down, like a rabbit hole, and inside there is everything”). With the exuberance of the best Elizabeth McCracken stories and the insights of Tessa Hadley, these tales are at once gorgeously rendered and empathetic. This has the feel of an instant classic. Agent: Bill Clegg, the Clegg Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/18/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
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