Miranda Weber is a hot mess. In Paula Whyman's debut collection of stories, we find her hoarding duct tape to ward off terrorists, stumbling into a drug run with a crackhead, and frequently enduring the bad behavior of men. A drivers education class pulsing with racial tension is the unexpected context of her sexual awakening. As she comes of age, and in the three decades that follow, the potential for violence always hovers nearby. She's haunted by the fate of her disabled sister and thanks to the crack cocaine epidemic of the 80s, the wars in the Middle East, and sniper attacks the threat of crime and terror in her hometown of Washington, D.C. Miranda can be lascivious, sardonic, and maddeningly self-destructive, but, no matter what befalls her, she never loses her sharp wit or powers of observation, which illuminate both her own life and her strange, unsettling times.
Paula Whyman has published stories in Ploughshares, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other literary journals. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. A native of Washington, D.C., she now lives in Maryland.
Joanna Rakoff’s novel A Fortunate Age won the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction by Emerging Writers and the Elle Readers’ Prize, and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle best seller. She has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, and other publications. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.