FICTION

Topics of Conversation

Knopf. Jan. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9780525656289. $24. F
COPY ISBN
DEBUT This first novel follows the narrator at intervals from 2000 to 2017, as she progresses from nanny to graduate student, wife, adulterer, alcoholic, mother, and single mother. As the story begins, she is looking for approval from adults she admires, so insecure that she does not really understand how to “do” adulthood herself. As the story unfolds, she witnesses adult life from afar as her friends weather various crises but declines to join them, rejecting responsibility and preferring to be a submissive partner in her relationships. This strategy does not work well. Her marriages fail, she starts drinking to compensate, and as a single mother her refusal to engage hurts her child. After a long talk with her mother, she looks for new ways to lead her life, even entering rehab. But can she accept that her life is her responsibility alone?
VERDICT Popkey writes in a stream-of-consciousness style that gives her novel a dreamlike quality. Though readers must make the connections among the narrator’s many changes in location and situation, the result is finally thought provoking. Fine for general fiction audiences.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month