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Topics of conversation - Miranda Popkey

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Topics of conversation
Miranda Popkey
Serpent's Tail
UK Publication Date

What is the shape of a life? Is it the things that happen to us? Or is it the stories we tell about the things that happen to us? From the coast of the Adriatic to the salt spray of Santa Barbara, the narrator of Topics of Conversation maps out her life through two decades of bad relationships, motherhood, crisis and consolation. The novel unfurls through a series of conversations - in private with friends, late at night at parties with acquaintances, with strangers in hotel rooms, in moments of revelation, shame, cynicism, envy and intimacy. Sizzling with enigmatic desire, Miranda Popkey's debut novel is a seductive exploration of life as a woman in the modern world, of the stories we tell ourselves and of the things we reveal only to strangers.'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

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Miranda Popkey has written for Harper's Magazine, The New York Review of Books and The New Republic. She lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Topics of Conversation is her first novel.

Each of the chapters in this exacting, exhilarating debut novel records a deeply intimate discussion the capricious, now-38-year-old narrator has had over nearly two decades with friends, maternal figures, and later, fellow single mothers. Our guess is that this book will be the topic of many conversations in 2020.
O The Oprah Magazine

Over the span of 20 years, an unnamed narrator has conversations with an eclectic set of women - conversations about shame and love, sexuality and power. Envy and guilt. Motherhood. Loneliness. The slim book is smart and raw, and Popkey dives head-on into difficult, well - how else to say it? - topics of conversation.
Washington Post

A sustained, Sally Rooney-esque brooding on our simultaneous but conflicting yearnings for autonomy and "being a vessel for the desire of others' ... As Rachel Cusk's narrator observes in Transit, "The moments when life could be observed in a meaningful arrangement were rare." Popkey's narrator traverses a series of inflection points over the course of seventeen years. She hopes to excavate some sort of arc, a scaffolding of her inner thoughts, from these discursive flashes.'
The New York Times

Miranda Popkey's debut explores the paradox of longing to assert control and longing to lose it ... She depicts what it feels like to exist, actually live, at that intersection, which can so often bring about paralysis.
New Yorker

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

Topics of Conversation masterfully maps the unknowable terrain of intimacy
Boston Globe

As she explores her own history through a shifting lens of female rivalries and friendships, the book's surface coolness begins to peel away, revealing the raw, uncommon nerve of a radically honest storyteller.
Entertainment Weekly

In luminous prose, Popkey explores the intricacies of love and desire and female friendship. Every page sparks with intelligence.
Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of Night at the Fiestas

An intimate evisceration of our narrow imaginings of female sexuality
Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

Penetrating, brutal, a brilliant new voice in contemporary fiction
Ben Marcus

If you're a fan of Sally Rooney's work, then you can't go wrong by picking up a copy of Topics Of Conversation ... Popkey explores thought-provoking topics including female desire, relationships, consent, sex and anger. She's a fresh voice, and one that it's certainly worth listening to.

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