A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Library Journal, Electric Literature, The New York Public Library,
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.
"Finely attuned to both sensory and emotional detail . . . The adjectives that readers often attach to Bynum’s work―'enchanting,' 'charming,' 'precise'―are accurate, but . . . her skills and her sensibility are deeper and darker than that. The sentences are indeed meticulous, but never for their own sake; they bring to life characters who possess rich inner lives even when navigating moments that feel dreamily sinister or otherworldly . . . Bynum offers her reader inventively landscaped, beautifully manicured gardens teeming with rewardingly warty toads.”
―Caitlin Horrocks, The New York Times Book Review
"Likes brilliantly captures our current moment . . . Certain authors have such mastery over the short story form that you never forget the first time you read their work. Lorrie Moore, for example. Jim Shepard. Deborah Eisenberg. Add to that impressive list Sarah Shun-lien Bynum with her new collection, Likes as evidence . . . Likes is a short-story collection you should read slowly, but it’s so good, each story at such a high-wire level, that you’ll wind up tearing through it and wishing for more."
―Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post