Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman
Fiction

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While this collection is unlikely to have the impact of those works, Ulman is without doubt a compelling new voice.
-Financial Times

Synopsis

For fans of HBO’s Girls, Abigail Ulman’s heartbreakingly tender and often darkly funny fiction is a fresh take on the experiences of contemporary young women.

“A familiar yet highly inventive collection of short fiction which hits virtually all my buttons: dark humor, complex female characters, and a strong summer camp storyline.”—Lena Dunham, Lenny

Claire is magnetic. On the cusp of adulthood and letting go of her adolescence one miserable responsibility at a time, she’s moved from London to San Francisco to work toward her PhD and minor in cheap whiskey, pour-over coffee, and guys who can’t be bothered to shower. When she finds out she’s pregnant by a heartsick ex-boyfriend, the solution seems clear, if only to her.

Kira is a talented thirteen-year-old Russian gymnast who leaves her traditional family to travel to America.

Elise and Jenni, two Australian high school students, seek asylum from the hooking up and heavy drinking they’ve been doing for years by reenrolling in their childhood sleepaway camp.

Over the course of nine loosely connected stories, Hot Little Hands introduces us to young women, at once clever and naïve, who struggle to navigate the chronic uncertainty and very real dangers that come with being impatient for the future and reluctant to leave childhood behind.

Abigail Ulman’s voice feels of the moment—sharp and powerful—as she deftly explores ageless themes of sex and maturity among girls who are both confident and frighteningly exposed.

Praise for Hot Little Hands

“In this sardonic, smart, and thoroughly modern debut collection, Ulman presents nine stories about young women on the verge of adulthood, motherhood, and more who make momentous decisions while delirious with desire.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“[Ulman] excels at dialogue and narrative. The more you get to know her characters, the funnier it is to witness their verbal code-switching as they navigate between nosy parents, fumbling love interests, and trusted friends. That none of these stories is constrained by any need for tidy endings makes them all the more believable.”—The Atlantic

“Deftly written with a fresh and realistic style . . . Each female protagonist is wonderfully complicated and charming in her own way.”—Bookreporter

“The captivating women in this collection leave a lasting impression.”—Publishers Weekly

“Genuinely insightful . . . Hot Little Hands is the rare collection that portrays how life pivots around mundane moments as readily as earth-shaking events.”—Shelf Awareness

“It is rare for a collection to so adeptly capture the way life can be at once facile and intense. Ulman’s details are lifelike and droll, her style lucid and engaging, and the overall effect stirring.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A noteworthy debut. . . . Ulman writes without judgment, and this is what gives her characters life. They are multifaceted, flawed beings—sometimes victims of others, but often victims of their own actions—in whom readers will recognize flashes of themselves.”—Booklist

“The stories are beautifully paced, the dialogue perfect. There is a lovely comedy underpinning the cool tone. Often this becomes hilarious, but it is also controlled and well-judged. Abigail Ulman knows how to write a story, manage a buildup, hold your attention, suggest that somehow nothing much is happening while, in fact, everything is going on.”—Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Abigail Ulman

See more books from this Author
ABIGAIL ULMAN was born and raised in Melbourne. She has a Bachelor of Creative Arts from the University of Melbourne and was a recent Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University. Hot Little Hands is her first book.
Author Residence: Australia
Author Hometown: Australia
 
Published May 31, 2016 by Spiegel & Grau. 368 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Hot Little Hands
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Mar 03 2016

Ulman’s details are lifelike and droll, her style lucid and engaging, and the overall effect stirring. Nine short stories, all wry, authentic, and moving.

Read Full Review of Hot Little Hands: Fiction | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 19 2016

The stories have a cumulative effect: themes of friendship, infatuation, self-discovery, and disillusionment intensify with each subsequent tale. Though some stories are more powerful than others, all the captivating women in this collection leave a lasting impression.

Read Full Review of Hot Little Hands: Fiction | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Beatrice Hodgkin on Jul 29 2016

While this collection is unlikely to have the impact of those works, Ulman is without doubt a compelling new voice.

Read Full Review of Hot Little Hands: Fiction | See more reviews from Financial Times

Reader Rating for Hot Little Hands
82%

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