Harvard Book Store and GrubStreet welcome award-winning writer LAURA ADAMCZYK for a discussion of her debut short story collection, Hardly Children. She will be joined in conversation by the prize-winning author of White Dancing Elephants, CHAYA BHUVANESWAR.
A man hangs from the ceiling of an art gallery. A woman spells out messages to her sister using her own hair. Children deemed “bad” are stolen from their homes. In Hardly Children, Laura Adamczyk’s rich and eccentric debut collection, familiar worlds―bars, hotel rooms, cities that could very well be our own―hum with uncanny dread.
The characters in Hardly Children are keyed up, on the verge, full of desire. They’re lost, they’re in love with someone they shouldn’t be, they’re denying uncomfortable truths using sex or humor. They are children waking up to the threats of adulthood, and adults living with childlike abandon.
With command, caution, and subtle terror, Adamczyk shapes a world where death and the possibility of loss always emerge. Yet the shape of this loss is never fully revealed. Instead, it looms in the periphery of these stories, like an uncomfortable scene viewed out of the corner of one’s eye.
“The stories are achingly open to the vulnerability that comes with forming attachments and the surprising difficulty of breaking them.” —Danielle Lazarin, New York Times Book Review
“A striking blend of graceful sentences and eerie premises.” ―Laura Pearson, Chicago Tribune
“Super weird, super unsettling, and super great.” —Boston Globe
“With an elegant, surgical style, this excellent debut collection examines the murky divide between youth and adulthood, the infinite weirdnesses of aging, the way our childhoods warp in the rear view, and the myriad lies we must undo along the way. Laura Adamczyk is a clever, observant writer with a pleasantly dark wit and Hardly Children will thrill any reader who is baffled to realize they’re an adult.” ―Catherine Lacey, author of Certain American States and The Answers
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.