Single, Carefree, Mellow

Katherine Heiny. Knopf, $22.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-35363-2
Dissatisfied teenagers and bored housewives, clueless boyfriends and cuckolded husbands, and 11 variations on the recurrent theme of infidelity and its fallout populate Heiny’s first collection of stories. “The Dive Bar” shows a woman cajoled into having drinks with her lover’s more sophisticated wife; unsurprisingly, the tête–à–tête ends doesn’t end well. “Blue Heron Bridge” finds a physique-obsessed mother consumed by an affair with an aging personal trainer. In the second-person “The Rhett Butlers,” a teenager embarks on a tour of seedy hotel rooms and blah sex with her smarmy high school history teacher. A man leaves a dalliance with a woman he met on Facebook for a gal whose tweets he admires in “Cranberry Relish.” Three of the offerings—“Dark Matter,” “Grendel’s Mother,” and the title story—follow the romantic entanglements and discontented musings of one character through marriage to her long-time boyfriend and pregnancy. But it’s hard to care about her fate when her snarky asides about life’s superficialities and near-constant critique of herself (and her relationship) continue unabated, despite her changed circumstances. First printing: 50,000 copies. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 09/15/2014
Release date: 02/03/2015
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-00-810555-6
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-00-810554-9
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-8041-7315-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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