It’s time for another book tour…
Title: SILVER GIRL
Author: Leslie Pietrzyk
Pub. Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Unnamed Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
It’s the early 1980s. Ronald Reagan’s economy will trickle down any day now, and Chicago’s Tylenol Killer has struck: an unknown person is stuffing cyanide into capsules, then returning them to drugstore shelves.
Against the backdrop of this rampant anxiety, one young woman, desperate to escape the unspoken secrets of her Midwestern family, bluffs her way into the fancy “school by the lake” in Chicago. There she meets Jess, charismatic and rich and needy, and the two form an insular, competitive friendship. Jess’ family appears perfect to the narrator’s wishful eye, and she longs to fit into their world, even viewing herself as a potentially better daughter than the unappreciative Jess. But the uneven power dynamic chafes the narrator, along with lingering guilt about the sister she left behind. Her behavior becomes increasingly risky – and after Jess’ sister dies in murky circumstances and the Tylenol killer exposes the intricate double life of Jess’ father, she finds herself scrambling for footing. Nothing is as it seems, and the randomness of life feels cruel, whether one’s fate is swallowing a poisoned Tylenol or being born into a damaged and damaging family.
SILVER GIRL is a cousin to Emma Cline’s The Girls and Emily Gould’s Friendship in its nuanced exploration of female friendship, with the longing of Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter.
Leslie Pietrzyk is the author of two novels, Pears on a Willow Tree and A Year and a Day. This Angel on My Chest, her collection of linked short stories, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in October 2015. Kirkus Reviews named it one of the 16 best story collections of the year. A new novel, Silver Girl, is forthcoming from Unnamed Press in February 2018. Her short fiction and essays have appeared/are forthcoming in many publications, including Hudson Review, Southern Review, Arts & Letters, Gettysburg Review, The Sun, Shenandoah, River Styx, Iowa Review, TriQuarterly, New England Review, Salon, Washingtonian, and the Washington Post Magazine. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Pietrzyk is a member of the core fiction faculty at the Converse low-residency MFA program and often teaches in the MA Program in Writing at Johns Hopkins University. Raised in Iowa, she now lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
Jess and I lingered at the water fountain in the library, across from the room with the best vending machines. It was her idea to hover, seemingly absorbed in conversation, rating the butts of guys bending over to drink. We flashed quick and—we thought—subtle signals with our eyebrows. We thought we were sly and hilarious, or Jess did. I thought we were embarrassing. But this was what Jess wanted for study break, and I agreed since it was a step closer to forgetting her fiancé. Truth be told, none of the butts we saw were better than his, and Jess had to know it. Tommy. Not wrong to think his name.
An older guy, maybe a grad student, sidled around the corner and said, “You two are laughing a lot.” Long blonde hair hung straight down his back. His teeth held a pair of black plastic eyeglasses by the stem, so his words sounded tight and clenched. Instead of the preppy look everyone aspired to, he wore black jeans and a too-small black T-shirt printed all-lowercase: “anarchists unite—or not.”
I looked into his eyes, trying to determine who he was talking to, me or Jess, and I felt Jess next to me, trying to determine the same thing. Jinx, I thought, the way kids did when they said the same word at the same time.
We were sideways from a floor-to-ceiling window and when I checked my reflection, I stood straighter. Jess flicked her hair. I guessed she was thinking about the lipstick in her purse. Me too. So I flicked my hair because she had, and she promptly straightened up.
He folded the glasses and hooked one stem into a front pocket. “What’s so funny?” he asked, saying it like he knew already. His back was to the wall, so I couldn’t see his butt, but it had to be good. He wouldn’t wear those jeans if it wasn’t.
Jess said, “Just girl talk.” Her voice overflowed with implication: that there was more, that maybe she’d tell him but maybe not, that time was endless and her flirty games could last into infinity, that a laugh now was as good as easing a tennis ball back at her with a single, graceful stroke. Three words equaled all that.
But he didn’t laugh. That meant something.
Giveaway Details: International
3 winners will receive a finished copy of SILVER GIRL, US Only.
Ends on March 20th at Midnight EST!
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