A collection of revelatory stories that show women trying to be themselves. Characterised by sharp observation and tenderness, they are stories of struggle and success, of yearning and learning.
From Hannah Vincent, the author of Alarm Girl and The Weaning, this debut short story collection shows women striving to be artists, employers, employees, daughters, mothers, sisters; to be friends, partners, wives and girlfriends; to be themselves. They are young and old, fulfilled and frustrated, knowing and unknowing.
These stories depict the ordinary and extraordinary lives of women coping with the demands of society, the demands of men, the demands of their fellow women, of their own bodies. Characters are captured in recognisable moments of real life and in occasional flights of fancy. At the centre of each story is a woman engaged in an act of self-preservation.
In one story a young woman on the cusp of adulthood tries to express the horror and violence she perceives in the world around her, in another a teenage mother struggles to look after her child in the face of her obsession with the baby’s father. One character experiences the freedom of the workplace while another perceives its constraints. One discovers how far her career has pushed her out to the margins of family life while another contemplates retirement. In the title story a woman catches a whiff of what respect and reciprocal attraction feels like. Women in these stories are exhilarated to discover the joy and surprise of other women’s company, they make bold sexual choices and go on night-time excursions. As grandmothers they give their grandchildren unsuitable presents.
These women are at home and on holiday, at work and at play. They are young and they are old, fulfilled and frustrated, knowing and unknowing. They are educated and uneducated, professional and amateur. They are Anglo-Irish, Chinese, English, French, German, Indian, Jewish, Jamaican, Polish and Welsh.
They are Everywoman.
Hannah Vincent is also author of Alarm Girl (Myriad, 2014).