WHY: “A searing and cleverly constructed novel.
“The women in Miranda Popkey’s astute debut bristle with wanting. Readers meet the unnamed narrator in Italy, ‘twenty-one and daffy with sensation,’ where she is working as a nanny for a well-off friend’s younger brothers while her friend leaves her behind in favor of Greek tourists she’s met on the beach. In her third week, she has a late-night conversation with her friend’s mother, Artemisia, an Argentinean psychoanalyst, about their paralleled romantic histories with much older men, both their former professors. These conversations about power, responsibility, and desire, often as they manifest in relationships with men, provide the backbone for the subsequent sections of the novel, which follow the narrator through breakups with friends, with lovers, and motherhood.
“As the years progress, the narrator’s hyperawareness and cheeky playfulness when it comes to her narrative as something she owns, grows as well. At a new moms meet-up in Fresno 14 years after that night in Italy, the narrator asks the rest of the moms to share ‘how we got here.’ The story she herself shares is an echo of the one she told Artemisia, but better, the details burnished and editorialized.
“A fine indication of what’s to come from this promising author.”
“A rich and rigorous dissection of how we construct who we are.
This is a book of ideas — about power and gender, about desire, about loneliness and rage — but it is also, at its core, a novel about storytelling, about the quest for a stable narrative that can explain us to others and to ourselves.” –KIRKUS REVIEWS