Single, Carefree, Mellow

Knopf. Feb. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9780385353632. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353649. F
OrangeReviewStarIn this funny and heartfelt debut story collection, few characters are single and even fewer are carefree—though most long to be. Instead, they are remorseful about their disloyalties, torn between spouses and secret lovers, and guilt-ridden over the betrayals they commit in the name of love. In the title story, we encounter Maya as she faces the death of her beloved dog, Bailey, contemplates leaving her boyfriend of five years (she is sadder about the dog), and confronts her feelings for her alluring veterinarian. Maya, who appears in several more stories in various stages of life and love, is one of many captivating characters expertly imagined by Heiny. For instance, in the "The Dive Bar," a woman receives a phone call from her lover's wife, asking her to meet for a drink, and in "How To Give a Wrong Impression," the finest story in the collection, a young woman yearns for her roommate—a man oblivious of her feelings who comes to her for dating advice.
VERDICT Essential reading for short story and fiction lovers, this is an exceptionally humorous collection by a talented new writer. [See Prepub Alert, 8/25/14.]
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