cover image No One Is Talking About This

No One Is Talking About This

Patricia Lockwood. Riverhead, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-593-18958-0

Lockwood’s debut novel comes packed with the humor, bawdiness, and lyrical insight that buoyed her memoir Priestdaddy. The unnamed narrator—made famous by a viral post that read, “Can a dog be twins”—travels the world to speak on panels, where she explains such things as why it’s better to use the spelling “sneazing” (it’s “objectively funnier”). While in Vienna for a conference, her mother urges her to come home to Ohio, where the narrator’s younger sister is having complications with her pregnancy and may need a late-term abortion. There, in the book’s shimmering second half, the internet jokes continue between the sisters as a means of coping with uncertainty, and resonate with the theme of life’s ephemerality vs. the internet’s infinitude. Throughout, a fragmented style captures and sometimes elevates a series of text messages and memes amid the meditations on family (“I’m convinced the world is getting too full lol, her brother texted her, the one who obliterated himself at the end of every day with a personal comet called Fireball”). This mighty novel screams with laughter just as it wallops with grief. Agent: Mollie Glick, Creative Arts Agency. (Feb.)