A Buzz Book of Fall at Publishers Lunch * A WIRED Ultimate Summer Reading pick
National Book Award finalist Sarah Shun-lien Bynum’s highly anticipated return weaves together like and unlike, mythic and modern
In nine stories that range from the real to the unreal, strange to familiar, funny to frightening, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum reminds us why her wildly original debut, Madeleine Is Sleeping, and her masterful Ms. Hempel Chronicles have become contemporary classics--celebrated and beloved.
In a nimble dance of lightness and gravity, Likes explores the full range and contradictions of our contemporary moment. Through unexpected visitors, Waldorf school fairs, aging indie-film stars, the struggle to gain a foothold in the capitalist shell-game of work, the Instagram posts of a twelve-year-old—these stories of friendship and parenthood, celebrity and obsession, race and class and the passage of time, form an engrossing collection that is both otherworldly and suffused with the deceitful humdrum of everyday life.
For readers of Joy Williams, George Saunders, Lauren Groff, and Deborah Eisenberg, Likes helps us see into our unacknowledged desires and, in quick, artful, nearly invisible cuts, exposes the roots of our abiding terrors and delights.
About the Author
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of the novels Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award; and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Best American Short Stories, and the O. Henry Prize Stories. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, she was named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by the New Yorker. She lives in Los Angeles.
A Buzz Book of Fall at Publishers Lunch
A WIRED Ultimate Summer Reading pick
"Throughout, Bynum combines a firm command of tone (often warm, even when dark) with precise detail . . . As clean prose dissects messy lives, these stories combine an empathetic heart with acute understanding."
"Despite her frequent use of the language of myths and fairytales, Bynum’s focus is deceptively ordinary. Time and again, her characters reckon with how—and if—you can ever really close the gap between yourself and someone else . . . Likes is a comforting reminder that relationships are often contradictory."
—Eve Sneider, WIRED
“Sarah Shun-lien Bynum not only makes us see and feel what we may have missed in our busy lives, but articulates what we see and feel with the precise words we’ve always been searching for but rarely find. How does she capture the world in its shimmery and inexplicable state so deftly? Stories in this collection lead the readers to feel nostalgic for experiences both lived and missed, alarmed and yet thrilled by the mysteries hidden in everyday moments, and above all, hopeful and grateful that there is no need to compromise: we can live as fully and expansively as these stories.”
—Yiyun Li, author of Where Reasons End
“Oh, what a treasure trove of delights this is! The most succulent details are tucked inside the warmth of these characters’ voices, and it is Bynum’s governing and generous intelligence that gives shape to their stories, always holding close and with care our complex yearnings and desires.”
—Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
“These stories caught me in the throat. Everything I thought to be true—about home invaders and husbands, BFFs and rich hippie schools—is revealed to be temporary, spectral, fragile as glass. Likes is a cunning, electrifying work by one of the best writers of our times.”
—Danzy Senna, author of Caucasia and New People