4 of 4
Back Talk
256 pages; Penguin Books
This subtle short-story collection is filled with (mostly younger) women making choices: Some are admirable, some are not, but all are a test of their strength. In "Appetite," two teenage girls, attempting to recover from the death of their mother, use food and other cravings that never cure them of the formidable sadness they both feel. In "Hide and Seek," a single mother protects her young daughters from the truth about their father as they play—literally and metaphorically—the childhood game. Claire, the babysitter in "Dinosaurs," helps a widower whose wife drowned, and finds herself bewildered by her own tenderness. Grief, love, wariness, empathy, the confusions of simply being a woman—these are emotions that most of us feel but sometimes find difficult to express. Lazarin gives us the tools to do just that.
— Kerri Arsenault