You Are Having a Good Time by Amie Barrodale
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You never know where they will take you or whether, at the end of the trip, your life won’t feel at least a little changed. An unrepentantly offbeat collection by an admirably free-spirited writer.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Ema was in a bad situation with a married man. She was visiting him in Washington, D.C. His wife was out of town. He had gotten them an outrageously expensive hotel room, out of respect for his wife and their home. Ema took that as a sign of his decency, and as a sign of her doom.

So begins "The Real Sloane Newman," one of the stories in Amie Barrodale's debut collection, You Are Having a Good Time. In these highly compressed and charged tales, the veneer of normality is stripped from her characters' lives to reveal the seething and contradictory desires that fuel them. In "Animals," an up-and-coming starlet harbors a complicated attraction toward her abusive director. In "Frank Advice for Fat Women," an ethically compromised psychiatrist is drawn into the middle of a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. And in "The Imp," a supernatural possession ruins a man's relationship with his pregnant wife.

Barrodale's protagonists drink too much, say the wrong things, want the wrong people. They're hounded by longings (and sometimes ghosts) to the point where they are forced to confront the illusions they cling to. They're brought to life in stories that don't behave as you expect stories to behave. Barrodale's startlingly funny and original fictions get under your skin and make you reconsider the fragile compromises that underpin our daily lives.

 

About Amie Barrodale

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Amie Barrodale's stories and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, Harper's Magazine, VICE, McSweeney's, and other publications. In 2012 she was awarded The Paris Review's Plimpton Prize for Fiction for her story "William Wei." She is a former staff writer for The Onion and is currently the fiction editor at VICE.
 
Published July 5, 2016 by FSG Originals. 208 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for You Are Having a Good Time
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Apr 13 2016

You never know where they will take you or whether, at the end of the trip, your life won’t feel at least a little changed. An unrepentantly offbeat collection by an admirably free-spirited writer.

Read Full Review of You Are Having a Good Time: S... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Nicholas Mancusi on Jul 08 2016

Pointless details are recorded, and conversations go nowhere. And in all of this inefficiency, frustration and absurdity, Barrodale has captured something near to what it feels like to be confined to a human brain.

Read Full Review of You Are Having a Good Time: S... | See more reviews from NY Times

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Carmen Maria Machado on Jul 10 2016

So is the world of You Are Having a Good Time beautiful with grotesque details, or grotesque with a little bit of beauty? The answer seems to be, "Yes."

Read Full Review of You Are Having a Good Time: S... | See more reviews from NPR

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