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Hot Little Hands

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Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman
Paperback $17.00
Mar 07, 2017 | ISBN 9780812989182

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  • Mar 07, 2017 | ISBN 9780812989182

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  • May 31, 2016 | ISBN 9780812989199

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“A familiar yet highly inventive collection of short fiction which hits virtually all my buttons: dark humor, complex female characters, and a strong summer camp storyline.”—Lena Dunham, Lenny
“In this sardonic, smart, and thoroughly modern debut collection, [Abigail] Ulman presents nine stories about young women on the verge of adulthood, motherhood, and more who make momentous decisions while delirious with desire.”O: The Oprah Magazine
“[A] rich [comedy] of manners that [takes] in not just the girls, but also the mystified boys and authority figures in their orbit, the head-shaking teachers and the parents who double as anxious chauffeurs . . . [Ulman] excels at dialogue and narrative. The more you get to know her characters, the funnier it is to witness their verbal code-switching as they navigate between nosy parents, fumbling love interests, and trusted friends. That none of these stories is constrained by any need for tidy endings makes them all the more believable.”The Atlantic
“Deftly written with a fresh and realistic style . . . Each female protagonist is wonderfully complicated and charming in her own way. . . . Ulman’s wit is sharp, and her observations are even sharper as she gives readers portraits of young women on the cusp of self-discovery or radical change. There is a narrative looseness in her style, but the emotional pull of the characters is powerful. It is this bi-polarity, the contemporary language mixed with the pop-culture references contrasted by the very real and urgent action of the stories, that is so entertaining and provocative. Ulman’s own confidence in writing is captivating, and her characters are colorful. . . . Hot Little Hands is overwhelmingly successful and intense.”Bookreporter
“The protagonists in Ulman’s debut story collection, all in their teens and twenties, feel intensely real. . . . These stories explore the complexities of ambition, the intricacies of relationships, and, perhaps most of all, the distance between expectations and reality. . . . Themes of friendship, infatuation, self-discovery, and disillusionment intensify with each subsequent tale. . . . All the captivating women in this collection leave a lasting impression.”Publishers Weekly
“The vague melancholy of growing up has hardly gone unexamined in fiction, but Ulman’s millennial take is genuinely insightful. . . . Ulman portrays her characters as unknowingly determining their places in the world, and she manages to depict this process absent self-seriousness and with a healthy dose of wry humor. Hot Little Hands is the rare collection that portrays how life pivots around mundane moments as readily as earth-shaking events.”Shelf Awareness
“It is rare for a collection to so adeptly capture the way life can be at once facile and intense. Ulman’s details are lifelike and droll, her style lucid and engaging, and the overall effect stirring.”Kirkus Reviews
“Ulman makes a noteworthy debut. . . . [She] writes without judgment, and this is what gives her characters life. They are multifaceted, flawed beings—sometimes victims of others, but often victims of their own actions—in whom readers will recognize flashes of themselves. Her unvarnished prose is ideally suited for this study of life’s messy realities: sex is not romanticized, nor is a secure or happy future guaranteed. Whether readers feel their consciences pricked or sense of kinship stoked, all will come away with plenty to think about.”Booklist

“The stories are beautifully paced, the dialogue perfect. There is a lovely comedy underpinning the cool tone. Often this becomes hilarious, but it is also controlled and well-judged. Abigail Ulman knows how to write a story, manage a buildup, hold your attention, suggest that somehow nothing much is happening while, in fact, everything is going on. I love how up-to-the-minute and streetwise the stories are, and how frank about sex and girls. Also, the ones set in San Francisco, filled with coffee shops and bars and bicycles and vegetarians and girls on the rampage (not to speak of guys), are brilliantly observed. This is a book I think girls will relish, guys might not like so much but they will need to read in order to know what girls are really thinking about.”—Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn

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