by Laura Adamczyk
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 20 Nov 2018 | Archive Date 21 Nov 2018
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, FSG Originals
Named a Fall Pick by Boston Globe, ELLE, Library Journal and MyDomain
An eerie debut collection featuring missing parents, unrequited love, and other uncomfortable moments
A man hangs from the ceiling of an art gallery. A woman spells out messages to her sister using her own hair. Children deemed “bad” are stolen from their homes. In Hardly Children, Laura Adamczyk’s rich and eccentric debut collection, familiar worlds—bars, hotel rooms, cities that could very well be our own—hum with uncanny dread.
The characters in Hardly Children are keyed up, on the verge, full of desire. They’re lost, they’re in love with someone they shouldn’t be, they’re denying uncomfortable truths using sex or humor. They are children waking up to the threats of adulthood, and adults living with childlike abandon.
With command, caution, and subtle terror, Adamczyk shapes a world where death and the possibility of loss always emerge. Yet the shape of this loss is never fully revealed. Instead, it looms in the periphery of these stories, like an uncomfortable scene viewed out of the corner of one’s eye.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 24 members
Brash and unnerving, all of the stories in this collection hit the reader square between the eyes. The creep factor is deliciously high, especially in those stories dealing with childhood. The author explores the boundaries (and lack thereof) between childhood and adulthood with a stunning deftness. Her metaphors both large and small work well. A man working as a prop in an art installation hangs from his skin on hooks above the crowd; when a family revelation is unveiled, he struggles with his new sense of self before he can literally and metaphorically come down from his tenderhooks. Small observations strike an equally sublime note: “my laughter came up like seltzer”. Haunting and revelatory, I highly recommend.