cover image Doll Palace

Doll Palace

Sara Lippmann. Dock Street (, $18 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-9910657-1-4

Lippmann's debut is a terrific collection of short stories that mostly take place in or around New York. In "Queen of Hearts," the male narrator feels an affinity for Pam, a babysitter in her thirties, even after she steals the bottle of Xanax that he'd been sharing with her. Lippmann skillfully demonstrates how he relates to Pam in subtle instances; he observes how she surreptitiously feels herself under her shirt ("Anything can be a transitional object") and casts his own wife in an unflattering light: "Things are not moving fast enough for Marcy. She swats me aside and jumps in, barking." "Everyone Has Your Best Interests at Heart," told from the point of view of a teenager working with her best friend on the Jersey Shore, is particularly engaging, as is "Body Scan," which chronicles what a woman learns about her husband after looking through his phone while they're stuck in traffic en route to Westchester. Some are very brief slice-of-life vignettes: the delightful "Houseboy," about a 23-year-old Israeli is rife with funny malapropisms ("At night, everything is awesome and pacifist.") but never makes fun at its narrator. These stories clearly reveal Lippmann's talent, and indicate a bright future ahead. (Sept.)