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Topics of Conversation I found this book to be pretentious and disengaging Aside from the fact that none of the characters were likable, the book itself is written in primarily run on sentences If I wanted to read a Faulkner book, I would have and would have enjoyed it , because Faulkner tells stories I cannot for the life of me figure out why so many people are A liking this book or B saying they couldn t put it down I found it very easy to put down actually I wanted to throw it across the room. For readers of Sally Rooney, Rachel Cusk, Lydia Davis, and Jenny Offill a compact tour de force about sex, violence, and self loathing from a ferociously talented new voice in fiction Miranda Popkey s first novel is about desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, guilt written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism The novel is composed almost exclusively of conversations between women the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self sabotage and careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life Edgy, wry, shot through with rage and despair, Topics of Conversation introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist Why I love itby Cristina ArreolaTopics of Conversation is my worst nightmare come true a book in which my darkest, most shameful, most secret thoughts are laid bare on the page The title of this brisk, slim novel hints at its atypical structure in lieu of a conventional plot, this novel takes us through twenty disparate years of the unnamed narrator s life.Each chapter of this debut is a different conversation taking place during the unnamed narrator s life, from college years to newlywed stat Why I love itby Cristina ArreolaTopics of Conversation is my worst nightmare come true a book in which my darkest, most shameful, most secret thoughts are laid bare on the page The title of this brisk, slim novel hints at its atypical structure in lieu of a conventional plot, this novel takes us through twenty disparate years of the unnamed narrator s life.Each chapter of this debut is a different conversation taking place during the unnamed narrator s life, from college years to newlywed status to motherhood These conversations, primarily with other women, are usually unrelated to one other, but all are about sex, fear, motherhood, power, and disgust It is a feast of intimacies that I gulped up greedily.This is a provocative novel that pulses with curiosity, and it flows like actual conversations moving from the mundane to the profane to the profound all within a few sentences As the narrator tells us in the very first chapter, I am nevercovetous than when someone tells me a story, a secret As you race through this novel, you ll understand exactly what she means You might feel a little uncomfortable, like you re overhearing a conversation that has become far too vulnerable But you won t turn away.Readat 4 Stars This is how Miranda Popkey should feel about the bashing she s getting on Goodreads This book is great Smart, intelligent and full of intricate thought provoking conversations that stay with you BUT if you re going to get all upset reading a book with run on sentences may I suggest picking up something else or just removing the stick from your ass 4 Stars This is how Miranda Popkey should feel about the bashing she s getting on Goodreads This book is great Smart, intelligent and full of intricate thought provoking conversations that stay with you BUT if you re going to get all upset reading a book with run on sentences may I suggest picking up something else or just removing the stick from your ass In a way I feel a bit bad contributing to this book s overwhelmingly negative reception, because I do think it hasgoing for it than its low Goodreads rating might suggest, and I can see where others could get something out of it But at the same time, this did literally nothing for me, so here we are.The Rachel Cusk comparisons are a dime a dozen, and I will spare you from that seeing as I ve never read Rachel Cusk I will instead address the Sally Rooney comparisons Both authors interr In a way I feel a bit bad contributing to this book s overwhelmingly negative reception, because I do think it hasgoing for it than its low Goodreads rating might suggest, and I can see where others could get something out of it But at the same time, this did literally nothing for me, so here we are.The Rachel Cusk comparisons are a dime a dozen, and I will spare you from that seeing as I ve never read Rachel Cusk I will instead address the Sally Rooney comparisons Both authors interrogate themes on womanhood, sex, sexuality, and give voice to a subset of young women who may have never seen these topics addressed so starkly in fiction But for me the difference between these two authors lies in the fact that Rooney explores themes through character, and Popkey explores themes at the expense of character The aptly unnamed narrator of Topics of Conversation feels like a prototype of Generic Young Woman Angst maybe that s the point, maybe not but her struggles all felt very Grand and Societal without being grounded in the microcosm enough to hold my interest Basically this is a book of commentary and ideas, and that s not an inherently bad or valueless thing I just failed to engage with it.Anyway, the thing that actually grated on methan anything was Popkey s writing This book is largely told in chunks of dialogue characters relaying monologues to the narrator I found that Popkey attempted to imitate the features of verbal speech in a way that came across to me as forced and labored it was peak stylized MFA proseHer hair was down and her cheeks were stiff and pink from smiling and the freckles on her neck, down her forearms, dotting her ankles, they were shining, they were giving off some kind of heat, she was glowing Again, I don t think this was a bad book, and if it interests you, I d definitely encourage you to pick it up it just wasn t what I was looking for and I found it rather unremarkable at the end of the day Miranda Popkey s Topics of Conversation is a novel of commentary on issues about gender, sex, and violence, framed as conversations.I m going to call this review a maybeitsmenotyou review I read a lot, as many of you know, and I feel like I get themes and issues and situations even if I can t personally identify with them But every so often a book comes along and it doesn t work for me and I wonder if maybe it s because I can t identify with the characters or subject matter.I m going to Miranda Popkey s Topics of Conversation is a novel of commentary on issues about gender, sex, and violence, framed as conversations.I m going to call this review a maybeitsmenotyou review I read a lot, as many of you know, and I feel like I get themes and issues and situations even if I can t personally identify with them But every so often a book comes along and it doesn t work for me and I wonder if maybe it s because I can t identify with the characters or subject matter.I m going to say this is definitely one of those books.An unnamed narrator has a series of conversations with different people at different stages of her life over a period of 20 years or so These conversations are about relationships, sex, sexual violence, infidelity, and the inequities between genders They re with friends, colleagues, lovers, spouses, strangers, fellow students In each separate story conversation, it appears the narrator is hungering for something.The topics that Popkey presents here are important, thought provoking topics Perhaps in another person s hands this book might really resonate but for me it missed the mark I struggled in many cases with the long windedness of her characters as well.I have seen some very positive reviews of this book from both women and men, so perhaps itsjustme If this interests you I do hope you enjoy it Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at Check out my list of the best books of the decade at all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.Follow me on Instagram at There is, below the surface of every conversation in which intimacies are shared, an erotic current Sometimes this current is so hot it all but boils and other times it s barely lukewarm, hardly noticeable, but always the current is present, if only you plunge your hands in just an inch or two farther down in the water This is regardless of the gender of the people involved, of their sexual orientations This is the natural outcome of disclosure, for to disclose is to reveal, to bring out int There is, below the surface of every conversation in which intimacies are shared, an erotic current Sometimes this current is so hot it all but boils and other times it s barely lukewarm, hardly noticeable, but always the current is present, if only you plunge your hands in just an inch or two farther down in the water This is regardless of the gender of the people involved, of their sexual orientations This is the natural outcome of disclosure, for to disclose is to reveal, to bring out into the open what was previously hidden And that unwrapping, that denuding, is always, inevitably sensual Topics of Conversation, Miranda PopkeyMiranda Popkey s debut novel Topics of Conversation poignantly articulates just how lonesome the coming of age journey can be for a woman The story starts with the introduction of an unnamed female speaker who, across 20 years, outlines her existential quest to marriage, divorce, and motherhood through an expedition of heart to hearts with people she encounters along the way Each chapter is a new episode of her experience, landmarked by place and time and discussion, and as Popkey s roaming narrator exits one life, she enters another, rendering the reader a spectator to the heart stabbing epiphanies that call her back down to earth.In Italy, she offers an ear to her friend s mother as she ashes away the veil of her unhappy marriage and Ann Arbor imperils the terrifying ease by which attractive white men become predators overnight Though it is Los Angeles, the bedrock for the book, that unlocks the myth of true love as something rehearsed, of intimacy as illusion, and where our speaker s self medicated slip into melancholia begins Depression becomes the safe stupor to which she absconds after squandering her marriage, but it is the way shame helms her poignant reawakening that sets Popkey ahead of her class as one of the most perceptive voices to strike the page.With Topics of Conversation, Popkey weaves a gossamer of light and conviction for any woman lost in the throes of shame and uncertainty I took this book with me everywhere Each chapter has been inked, dogeared, coffee stained all signs of real love There were so many bits in this story I know others will find as fascinating as I had the woman recounting Norman Mailer s abuse of his wife the one night affair our heroine spends with the sophisticated sadist in that San Francisco hotel the union of mothers pouring with testimonies of moments that culminated in the left turn of their lives What sto admire about Popkey s way with style is the colloquial cadence she uses to pace her prose, peppering the narrative with pauses and ruminations without sparing that acerbic sincerity we millennials hate to love Topics of Conversation is an unputdownable anthem about the pains of self discovery, of facing the fear of one s reflection, and the embarrassment of laying claim to unspeakable desires Halle Butler and Catherine Lacey lovers, this one is for you Thanks, Knopf friends, for sending me Popkey s debut before it releases in January If you liked my review, feel free to follow me parisperusing on Instagram. 2.5, rounded down.I have to say, the really low ratings on this book here on GR are probably the result of a really stupid marketing ploy that backfired when you compare a so so debut work to the likes of Cusk, Rooney, Davis and Offill and then utterly fail to deliver anything close to that, naturally people are going to be mad and react accordingly Aside from that, Popkey, much like her surely autobiographical protagonist, suffers from delusions of grandeur herself when her character as 2.5, rounded down.I have to say, the really low ratings on this book here on GR are probably the result of a really stupid marketing ploy that backfired when you compare a so so debut work to the likes of Cusk, Rooney, Davis and Offill and then utterly fail to deliver anything close to that, naturally people are going to be mad and react accordingly Aside from that, Popkey, much like her surely autobiographical protagonist, suffers from delusions of grandeur herself when her character asserts she s always the smartest person in the room, you roll your eyes and say, then why do you sound like Regina George from Mean Girls Her longwinded, convoluted sentences, with their tortured syntax g d help anyone trying to diagram these sentences , do not denote intelligence or profundity as much as solipsistic navel gazing And it s difficult to champion a heroine who is both intrinsically unlikeable and such a hot mess she spends the bulk of the novel drunk and being a horrible mother And the fact that almost every female character flirts with lesbianism is just so much pretentious trendy pandering The author shows promise at points but she has a long way to go to reach the pantheon of the writers she and or her marketing team invokes I finished this novel which is actually just a collection of inane MFA short stories about bad women two weeks ago, and it was so forgettable, uninspiring, and blatantly derivative that I only just remembered to log it on Goodreads Just go read Rachel Cusk instead. Originally published on The Nerd Daily Review by Beth MowbrayReading the synopsis alone for Topics of Conversation evokes a powerful set of emotions Take a look Miranda Popkey writes of desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, and guilt composed almost exclusively of conversations between women the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self sabotage Stunning, right This novel opens with Originally published on The Nerd Daily Review by Beth MowbrayReading the synopsis alone for Topics of Conversation evokes a powerful set of emotions Take a look Miranda Popkey writes of desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, and guilt composed almost exclusively of conversations between women the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self sabotage Stunning, right This novel opens with an unnamed female narrator in Italy The year is 2000, she has just completed her undergraduate program in English and after the summer, she will begin a graduate program studying the same In the meantime, however, she enjoys reading the journals of Sylvia Plath and discussing affairs with older professors alongside the mother of the children she babysits If that doesn t set a mood, then what does Popkey s story then unfolds across two decades, each chapter a different time and place, a different life experience, a different conversation Throughout these scenes, the narrator winds her way through life in a way which rings true to the female experience while also commenting on the inherent struggles She goes to graduate school, moving out into the world in an attempt to define her life beyond She navigates a marriage which turns into a sense of being trapped, feeling lost in her own life She shares friendships that come and go, infatuations with the lives of others And she attempts to bond with her mother, as well as with other mothers, while still desperately trying to maintain her own sense of self Or even figure out what that might be.Topics of Conversation is not just about these vignettes, though it is also about the type of people who live within them Many themes thread their way throughout and identity is arguably the foundation of this text Popkey deftly explores the way women learn to be in the world The way expectations are both overtly and subtly modelled by others The way one blindly picks up on these influences and, in turn, models them in their own life, denies them, or fights against them.Popkey also speaks broadly to patterns of intimacy and control in romantic and sexual relationships Most strikingly on display are the traditional power dynamics and ways in which men attempt to keep their women through jealousy, envy, fathering them, promising them the world, and retracting such promises She exposes the masculine desire for control which springs not from their power, but from the lack thereof She confronts the standard constructs of women being raised to believe they shouldn t desire or enjoy sex And what it means, how others react, if they do The concept of women being judged with a double standard, judged for doing the same things men have always done, is not new after all.What is perhaps most interesting, though, is how Popkey then turns this idea on its head and speaks to that which often goes unspoken The uncontrollable desire to be controlled The relief of not having to make decisions for oneself And the guilt, the shame, in having such desires The reader is exposed to the results of both accepting and challenging the traditional power dynamic How self esteem or the lack thereof and the innate desire for approval drive one s actions and choices The narrator very directly describes herself as a monster she feels anger and disgust toward herself, feels unlovable In many ways this connects back to the issue of control, as she takes comfort in being told what to do, does not easily embrace kindness, and often does not appear comfortable with being treated well.Throughout the novel the narrator always appears to be thinking of the better story, imagining how she might make her lifeexciting Feeling like she is missing something, wantingMaybe the narrator would have made different choices, in hindsight, as many would It may be that she regrets the many points where she could have done something different, but did not Perhaps this comes from a discomfort in our society with women actually expressing what they want The same rules do not necessarily apply, however, within same sex relationships and Popkey also explores this intimacy Not a sexual intimacy, although there is an underlying current of the erotic in some of these platonic relationships, but rather the intimacy created by sharing secrets, building a bond, and understanding one another through shared experiences.The honesty and depth of the narrator s story speaks broadly to the female experience, particularly expected gender roles and preconceived notions of sex and relationships With a candor seldom seen, Topics of Conversation explores how these norms are internalized and challenges them in ways both subtle and overt, serious and exaggerated Miranda Popkey has a voice that is witty and biting you won t want to miss this debut It may just be one of my favourite releases for 2020


About the Author: Miranda Popkey

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Topics of Conversation book, this is one of the most wanted Miranda Popkey author readers around the world.


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