A Selfie as Big as the Ritz

Lara Williams. Flatiron, $17.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-250-12662-7
Williams’s debut collection comprises 21 brief, inventive stories of women in their mid-to-late 20s who struggle to navigate the perilous waters of love, work, and adulthood in the 21st century. In “One of Those Life Things,” one of the book’s strongest entries, a woman has an abortion after a bad breakup. Another woman endures the particular pains of dating in the internet age in “Dates,” while another loses her boyfriend, job, and hair in quick succession in “Taxidermy.” A considerable number of stories, including “It Begins” and the humorous “The Getting of the Cat,” make use of second-person narration, sometimes recalling Lorrie Moore at her most concise. And, though there are attempts to introduce variations to the theme—such as “A Lover’s Guide to Meeting Shy Girls; or, Break Up Record,” in which a boy turns to music to move on from a failed relationship—characters and plots begin to blend together as the collection progresses, leaving the reader with vague impressions instead of memorable, specific instances of drama, detail, and conflict. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
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