New short stories from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie • Aimee Bender • Judy Budnitz • Jennifer S. Davis • Jennifer Egan • Carolyn Ferrell • Mary Gordon • Cristina Henríquez • Samantha Hunt •Binnie Kirshenbaum • Dika Lam • Caitlin Macy • Francine Prose • Holiday Reinhorn • Roxana Robinson • Curtis Sittenfeld • Lynne Tillman • Martha Witt
Chick lit: A genre of fiction that often recycles the following plot: Girl in big city desperately searches for Mr. Right in between dieting and shopping for shoes. Girl gets dumped (sometimes repeatedly). Girl finds Prince Charming.
This Is Not Chick Lit is a celebration of America’s most dynamic literary voices, as well as a much needed reminder that, for every stock protagonist with a designer handbag and three boyfriends, there is a woman writer pushing the envelope of literary fiction with imagination, humor, and depth.
The original short stories in this collection touch on some of the same themes as chick lit–the search for love and identity–but they do so with extraordinary power, creativity, and range; they are also political, provocative, and, at turns, utterly surprising. Featuring marquee names as well as burgeoning talents, This Is Not Chick Lit will nourish your heart, and your mind.
“This Is Not Chick Lit is important not only for its content, but for its title. I’ll know we’re getting somewhere when equally talented male writers feel they have to separate themselves from the endless stream of fiction glorifying war, hunting and sports by naming an anthology This Is Not a Guy Thing.”
“These voices, diverse and almost eerily resonant, offer us a refreshing breath of womanhood-untamed, ungroomed, and unglossed.”–ELLE
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (August 1, 2006)
From Publishers Weekly
“Chick lit as a genre,” writes Merrick in her introduction, “presents one very narrow representation of women’s lives.” This anthology’s 18 stories, on the other hand, present a frequently funny take on women’s experiences ranging from the mundane to the riotously absurd. In the first story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Thing Around Your Neck,” a young Nigerian immigrant struggles to find her place in America. In Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Volunteers Are Shining Stars,” a mildly neurotic young volunteer, maddeningly pecked at by her colleagues, is driven to violence. One of the most memorable stories, Jennifer Egan’s “Selling the General,” puts a disgraced publicist to work for a genocidal dictator to pay for her daughter’s private school tuition. Men get some representation too: Cristina Henríquez’s “Gabriella My Heart” sees a gay man reflecting on a heterosexual high school crush, while the married biology professor in Binnie Kirshenbaum’s “The Matthew Effect” pursues a student. Readers who’ve been Fendi’d and Choo’d to distraction would do well to pick this up.
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This short story collection examines, in illuminating detail, issues and concerns facing women who won’t find solace in a Prada bag. In no way is the editor trying to denounce chick lit. With these thought-provoking stories, she aims for mind expansion instead of mental escapism. In one story a woman experiences trepidation upon her wedding night, flees her husband, and becomes a protectoress of orphans. Another showcases the battles and execution of Joan of Arc through the lens of a reality-TV television crew, complete with makeover. A first date starts off with much promise until the two singletons admit lying to each other over the most banal facts. The most disturbing story is chick lit but with a perverted twist–a single, anxious woman volunteers at a shelter, observes other couples with both hunger and disdain, and develops a distorted view of a coworker when a child disappears. No less hopeful than typical chick lit but certainly more poignant and serious, this collection should spur spirited conversation among readers willing to discuss comparisons. Kaite Mediatore