Topics of Conversation: A novel (Hardcover)

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For readers of Rachel Cusk, Lydia Davis, and Jenny Offill--a compact tour de force about sex, violence, and self-loathing from a ferociously talented new voice in fiction

Miranda Popkey's first novel is about desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, guilt--written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism. The novel is composed almost exclusively of conversations between women--the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage--and careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. Edgy, wry, shot through with rage and despair, Topics of Conversation introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.

About the Author

MIRANDA POPKEY was born in Santa Cruz, California in 1987. She graduated with a BA in Humanities from Yale in 2009 and with an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018. She has written for, among other outlets, The New Republic, The New Yorker's Page-Turner blog, the Paris Review Daily, The Hairpin, The Awl, GQ, and New York magazine's The Cut.

Praise For…

"An intimate evisceration of our narrow imaginings of female sexuality, a brilliantly structured character study, and a book that repeatedly asks how women can fully trust their own desires when they've grown up steeped in the wrong stories. Its narrator is as skeptical of her own self-delusive fictions as she is of the stifling cliches and shallow fantasies about women's interior lives perpetuated by the wider culture."
-–Karen Russell, author of Orange World

“A pleasingly unsentimental novel about attraction and repulsion and the fluid line between the two.  Popkey writes about these emotional eddies with such thrilling detachment you’ll wonder why you ever worried about love at all.”
--Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
“Penetrating, brutal, a brilliant new voice in contemporary fiction.”
--Ben Marcus, author of Notes from the Fog

“In luminous prose, Popkey explores the intricacies of love and desire and female  friendship.  The voices in this novel are as insistent as the longing voice that comes from within, and every page sparks with intelligence.”
 --Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of Night at the Fiestas

"A book of ideas—about power and gender, about desire, about loneliness and rage—but it is also, at its core, a novel about storytelling, about the quest for a stable narrative that can explain us to others and to ourselves...A rich and rigorous dissection of how we construct who we are."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Nonetheless a searing and cleverly constructed novel and a fine indication of what’s to come from this promising author."
--Publishers Weekly
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525656289
ISBN-10: 0525656286
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: January 7th, 2020
Pages: 224