Likes: Book summary and reviews of Likes by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

Likes by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum X
Likes by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
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Book Summary

National Book Award finalist Sarah Shun-lien Bynum's highly anticipated return weaves together like and unlike, mythic and modern.

In nine stories that range from the real to the unreal, strange to familiar, funny to frightening, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum reminds us why her wildly original debut, Madeleine Is Sleeping, and her masterful Ms. Hempel Chronicles have become contemporary classics--celebrated and beloved.

In a nimble dance of lightness and gravity, Likes explores the full range and contradictions of our contemporary moment. Through unexpected visitors, Waldorf school fairs, aging indie-film stars, the struggle to gain a foothold in the capitalist shell-game of work, the Instagram posts of a twelve-year-old―these stories of friendship and parenthood, celebrity and obsession, race and class and the passage of time, form an engrossing collection that is both otherworldly and suffused with the deceitful humdrum of everyday life.

For readers of Joy Williams, George Saunders, Lauren Groff, and Deborah Eisenberg, Likes helps us see into our unacknowledged desires and, in quick, artful, nearly invisible cuts, exposes the roots of our abiding terrors and delights.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
"This was a hit and miss collection for me: I only loved one of the stories, and enjoyed another three; touches of magic realism à la Aimee Bender produce the two weakest stories, and there are a few that simply tail off without having made a point. My favorite was 'Many a Little Makes,' about a trio of childhood best friends. The title story, about a father trying to understand his 12-year-old through her Instagram posts either side of the Trump election, is promising but doesn't go anywhere." - Rebecca Foster

Other Reviews
"Bynum combines a firm command of tone (often warm, even when dark) with precise detail...As clean prose dissects messy lives, these stories combine an empathetic heart with acute understanding." - Kirkus (starred review)

"[T]ranscendent...With the exuberance of the best Elizabeth McCracken stories and the insights of Tessa Hadley, these tales are at once gorgeously rendered and empathetic. This has the feel of an instant classic." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Sarah Shun-lien Bynum not only makes us see and feel what we may have missed in our busy lives, but articulates what we see and feel with the precise words we've always been searching for but rarely find. How does she capture the world in its shimmery and inexplicable state so deftly? Stories in this collection lead the readers to feel nostalgic for experiences both lived and missed, alarmed and yet thrilled by the mysteries hidden in everyday moments, and above all, hopeful and grateful that there is no need to compromise: we can live as fully and expansively as these stories." - Yiyun Li, author of Where Reasons End

"Oh, what a treasure trove of delights this is! The most succulent details are tucked inside the warmth of these characters' voices, and it is Bynum's governing and generous intelligence that gives shape to their stories, always holding close and with care our complex yearnings and desires." - Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

"These stories caught me in the throat. Everything I thought to be true—about home invaders and husbands, BFFs and rich hippie schools—is revealed to be temporary, spectral, fragile as glass. Likes is a cunning, electrifying work by one of the best writers of our times." - Danzy Senna, author of Caucasia and New People

This information about Likes shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum Author Biography

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum lives in Los Angeles and teaches writing and literature at UC San Diego. She is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her first novel, Madeleine is Sleeping, was published by Harcourt in 2004 and was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize.

Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories 2004 and 2009. Ms. Hempel Chronicles was published in September 2008 and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2009.

The recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and an NEA Fellowship, she was named one of "20 Under 40" fiction writers by the New Yorker in June 2010. She lives in Los...

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