My review of Danielle Lazarin’s debut short story collection, Back Talk, is up at PopMatters. The book came out in February this year.

The main theme that unifies these stories is female desire (of many kinds.) The girls and women here deal with their desires, and the underlying needs and fears, with vulnerability, suppressed anger, self-awareness, and self-denial.

I enjoyed, particularly, Lazarin’s precise sentence-level craft.

Our desires are driven as much by our needs as our fears. And female desire — of which much has been written and much of it badly or incorrectly — is often still about suppressed needs and unarticulated fears. Danielle Lazarin’s debut short story collection, Back Talk, deals with just such desires, needs, and fears with a cast of girls and women at various stages of their lives. While the desires are varied, ranging from needs for intimacy to independence, the fear that over-rides all other fears is that of loss. This makes their conflicts deeply personal and their choices, though they do affect others, are mostly like self-inflicted, long-lasting wounds.

Read the full review here.

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