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Single, Carefree, Mellow : Stories
by Katherine Heiny


Overview -

Katherine Heiny's work does something magical: elevates the mundane so that it has the stakes of a mystery novel, gives women's interior lives the gravity they so richly deserve -- and makes you laugh along the way.
Lena Dunham
Single, Carefree, Mellow is that rare and wonderful thing: a debut that is superbly accomplished, endlessly entertaining, and laugh-out-loud funny.  Read more...


 
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More About Single, Carefree, Mellow by Katherine Heiny
 
 
 
Overview

Katherine Heiny's work does something magical: elevates the mundane so that it has the stakes of a mystery novel, gives women's interior lives the gravity they so richly deserve -- and makes you laugh along the way.
Lena Dunham
Single, Carefree, Mellow is that rare and wonderful thing: a debut that is superbly accomplished, endlessly entertaining, and laugh-out-loud funny.

Maya is in love with both her boyfriend and her boss. Sadie s lover calls her as he drives to meet his wife at marriage counseling. Gwen pines for her roommate, a man who will hold her hand but then tells her that her palm is sweaty. And Sasha agrees to have a drink with her married lover s wife and then immediately regrets it. These are the women of Single, Carefree, Mellow, and in these eleven sublime stories they are grappling with unwelcome houseguests, disastrous birthday parties, needy but loyal friends, and all manner of love, secrets, and betrayal.
In Cranberry Relish Josie s ex a man she met on Facebook has a new girlfriend he found on Twitter. In Blue Heron Bridge Nina is more worried that the Presbyterian minister living in her garage will hear her kids swearing than about his finding out that she s sleeping with her running partner. And in The Rhett Butlers a teenager loses her virginity to her history teacher and then outgrows him.
In snappy, glittering prose that is both utterly hilarious and achingly poignant, Katherine Heiny chronicles the ways in which we are unfaithful to each other, both willfully and unwittingly. Maya, who appears in the title story and again in various states of love, forms the spine of this linked collection, and shows us through her moments of pleasure, loss, deceit, and kindness just how fickle the human heart can be.

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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780385353632
  • ISBN-10: 0385353634
  • Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc
  • Publish Date: February 2015
  • Page Count: 224
  • Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.85 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Contemporary Women
Books > Fiction > Short Stories (single author)

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-09-15
  • Reviewer: Staff

Dissatisfied teenagers and bored housewives, clueless boyfriends and cuckolded husbands, and 11 variations on the recurrent theme of infidelity and its fallout populate Heiny’s first collection of stories. “The Dive Bar” shows a woman cajoled into having drinks with her lover’s more sophisticated wife; unsurprisingly, the tête–à–tête ends doesn’t end well. “Blue Heron Bridge” finds a physique-obsessed mother consumed by an affair with an aging personal trainer. In the second-person “The Rhett Butlers,” a teenager embarks on a tour of seedy hotel rooms and blah sex with her smarmy high school history teacher. A man leaves a dalliance with a woman he met on Facebook for a gal whose tweets he admires in “Cranberry Relish.” Three of the offerings—“Dark Matter,” “Grendel’s Mother,” and the title story—follow the romantic entanglements and discontented musings of one character through marriage to her long-time boyfriend and pregnancy. But it’s hard to care about her fate when her snarky asides about life’s superficialities and near-constant critique of herself (and her relationship) continue unabated, despite her changed circumstances. First printing: 50,000 copies. (Feb.)

 
BookPage Reviews

The relationship spectrum

This radiant collection of short stories features a set of flawed yet sympathetic women in a whole mess of compromising positions.

Nina starts an affair with a man she meets while out running. Josie struggles to extract herself from a sizzling online relationship that fizzles when she meets Billy in real life. Gwen doesn’t lie, exactly, but if her folks want to believe Boris is her boyfriend and not just a roommate, who is she to burst their bubble? And Maya—who appears in several quietly delicious installments—slouches her way toward a mature relationship with some serious detours along the way.

Many of the women in these beautifully wrought stories are single, but they are anything but carefree or mellow. Just as we do in real life, they self-sabotage in ways huge and small, making choices based solely on their heart with no input from their head. First-time author Katherine Heiny takes great care to make her characters relatable even in their imperfections. She paints sweetly resonant moments that also can be very funny:

“For months and months Josie thought about Billy when she should have been wondering what to make for supper—or what to say at Kit’s parent-teacher conference or where Mickey’s lunch card was or if she left the oven on—and now here she is with Billy, and all she can think about is whether she used the last of the onions the night before. (She’s pretty sure she did.)”

Single, Carefree, Mellow is named for a story in which Maya ponders leaving her boyfriend of five years, then decides there is “such a thing as too much loss.” It’s a poignant moment that sums up this smart exploration of love and betrayal, and that fine line between happiness and pain.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews