Genre: Fiction

Topics of Conversation

by Miranda Popkey


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.

“A pleasingly unsentimental novel about attraction and repulsion and the fluid line between the two. Popkey writes about these emotional eddies with such thrilling detachment you’ll wonder why you ever worried about love at all.” - Jenny Offill
“Penetrating, brutal, a brilliant new voice in contemporary fiction.” - Ben Marcus
“An intimate evisceration of our narrow imaginings of female sexuality, a brilliantly structured character study, and a book that repeatedly asks how women can fully trust their own desires when they've grown up steeped in the wrong stories. Its narrator is alive to the secret, mysterious life of her own body and as skeptical of her own self-delusive fictions as she is of the stifling cliches about women's interior lives perpetuated by the wider culture.” - Karen Russell
"[A] searing and cleverly constructed novel and a fine indication of what’s to come from this promising author." - Publishers Weekly
"A book of ideas--about power and gender, about desire, about loneliness and rage--but it is also, at its core, a novel about storytelling, about the quest for a stable narrative that can explain us to others and to ourselves... A rich and rigorous dissection of how we construct who we are." - Kirkus Reviews
"Electrifying... Shrewd and sensual, Popkey's debut carries the scintillating charge of a long-overdue girls' night." - The Oprah Magazine
"Masterly" - The New Yorker
"Sally Rooney-esque... Popkey's sentences careen breathlessly as her halting, staccato prose mirrors the "churning" within the narrator's mind... Her manner of parceling out information evoke at times the fragmentary and diaristic sensibilities of Jenny Offill's DEPT. OF SPECULATION ...a shrewd record of the act of unflinchingly circling these amorphous notions of pain, desire and control." - The New York Times Review