by Lara Williams
Pushcart Prize-nominated Lara Williams’ debut is a candid, wry, and deeply moving road map to contemporary adulthood.
She finds herself single, twenty-nine, partially-employed, and about a half a stone overweight. Roller dexter of eligible friends rattling thin. Thirties breathing down her neck like an inappropriate uncle. She jogs. Looks good in turquoise. Finds herself punctuating gas “better out than in!” patting her stomach like a department store Santa. This is who I am, she thinks.
The women in Lara Williams’ debut story collection, A Selfie as Big as the Ritz, navigate the tumultuous interval between early twenties and middle age. In the title story, a relationship implodes against the romantic backdrop of Paris. In “One of Those Life Things,” a young woman struggles to say the right thing at her best friend’s abortion. In “Penguins,” a girlfriend tries to accept her boyfriend’s bizarre sexual fantasy. In “Treats,” a single woman comes to terms with her loneliness. As Williams’ characters attempt to lean in, fall in love, hold together a family, fend off loneliness, and build a meaningful life, we see them alternating between expectation and resignation, giddiness and melancholy, the rollercoaster we all find ourselves on.