Girls of a Certain Age
What is the right way to handle an abusive partner? An unexpected pregnancy? A toxic friendship? Chronic unemployment? Gender dysphoria? A family member going to war? A disability? Anger? Loneliness?
Finding themselves in disempowering, frightening, or otherwise unendurable circumstances, the girls, women, and non-binary characters in Maria Adelmann's stories look for ways to free themselves into new lives or, at the very least, new states of feeling. Sometimes they do this by hurting someone else or getting hurt; sometimes by submitting, other times by mounting a rebellion. With a special talent for pressing the sharp up against the tender, Adelmann explores the many pathways through the titular condition.
Ranging in style from the magical to the terrifying to the calm tones of a self-help manual, Girls of a Certain Age captures the spectrum of strategies we apply to the pain of life, strategies that we persist in pretending might actually work.
Praise For Girls of a Certain Age…
—Alexis Schaitkin, author of SAINT X
"Adelmann doesn't create rules for the women in her stories, no matter their age. She lets them run rampant, their messiness on full display. Harsh and tender, Adelmann's collection is both an unblinking testament to modern womanhood and a fearless debut."
—Jean Kyoung Frazier, author of PIZZA GIRL
“Bewilderment runs like a ribbon through these stories, locating the surreal in the mundane and tethering fantastical elements to earthly pain. Page after page, I wondered what unexpected truth Adelmann would reveal next. As I watched her characters struggle for answers, I found myself newly uncertain of the certainties I hold most dear. By the end, I felt like the protagonist in one of her stories—hanging upside down in a tree, shaken out, and rearranged.”
—Lulu Miller, author of WHY FISH DON'T EXIST and co-host of Radiolab
“What heart! What power! What wit! The young women in these funny, subversive, poignant stories are shaped by their contradictions and their desires, their fears and their surroundings, and their longing to break away. Through narratives as heartfelt as they are surprising, they search for connection, for a voice, and for purpose in the often-confounding world they move through, in bodies and situations that both betray and astound them. Maria Adelmann is a true storyteller.”
—Natalie Bakopoulos, author of SCORPIONFISH
"Adelmann’s stories feel like intimate secrets whispered in the ear, populated by characters who are occasionally hard to watch but impossible to turn away from. At turns dark, witty, and strange, Girls of a Certain Age is a startling debut from a writer of astonishing talent and vision."—Jung Yun, author of SHELTER
“The stories linger, clearly illuminated by their artistry, honesty, and pervasive courage. A strong debut from a writer who probes the inner lives of her female subjects with both purpose and humor.”
“A dark and tender debut… deep and often terrifying aspects of womens' lives are beautifully portrayed in this collection of stories as Adelmann’s characters grapple with making sense of their world.”—BOOKLIST
Little, Brown and Company, 9780316450812, 240pp.
Publication Date: February 16, 2021