Topics of Conversation, by Miranda Popkey
Miranda Popkey's first novel is about desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, guilt--written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism. The novel is composed almost exclusively of conversations between women--the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage--and careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. Edgy, wry, shot through with rage and despair, Topics of Conversation introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.
“Formally adventurous and blisteringly current, this debut novel spanning almost two decades of conversations between women wrestles with the stories women tell about desire, friendship, and violence, among other subjects. In glittering prose, Popkey illuminates the performative nature of storytelling, assessing the degree to which the stories we tell about our lives are fictions.”
"An intimate evisceration of our narrow imaginings of female sexuality, a brilliantly structured character study, and a book that repeatedly asks how women can fully trust their own desires when they've grown up steeped in the wrong stories. Its narrator is as skeptical of her own self-delusive fictions as she is of the stifling cliches and shallow fantasies about women's interior lives perpetuated by the wider culture."
-–Karen Russell, author of Orange World
“A pleasingly unsentimental novel about attraction and repulsion and the fluid line between the two. Popkey writes about these emotional eddies with such thrilling detachment you’ll wonder why you ever worried about love at all.”
--Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
“Penetrating, brutal, a brilliant new voice in contemporary fiction.”
--Ben Marcus, author of Notes from the Fog
“In luminous prose, Popkey explores the intricacies of love and desire and female friendship. The voices in this novel are as insistent as the longing voice that comes from within, and every page sparks with intelligence.”
--Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of Night at the Fiestas