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Summary

A fresh, honest, and darkly funny debut collection about family, friends and lovers and the flaws that make us most human.

One woman takes a job selling sex toys in San Francisco rather than embark on the law career she pursued only for the sake of her father. Another realises she much prefers the company of her pit bull - and herself - to the neurotic foreign fling who won't decamp from her apartment. A daughter hauls a suitcase of lingerie to Mexico for her flighty, estranged mother to resell there, wondering whether her personal mission - to come out - is worth the same effort. And Barbara, a young woman with an autistic brother, a Princeton acceptance letter, and a love of sex navigates her high school's toxic, s--t-shaming culture with open eyes.

Fearless, candid, and incredibly funny, Lauren Holmes is a newcomer who writes like a master. She tackles eros and intimacy with a deceptively light touch, a keen awareness of how their nervous systems tangle and sometimes short-circuit, and a genius for revealing our most vulnerable, spirited selves.

With heart, sass and pitch-perfect characters, Barbara the S--t is a head-turning debut from a writer with a limitless career before her.

©2015 Lauren Holmes (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"A book I couldn't put down. An outstanding debut, refreshing and exciting, complex and really funny." (Nathan Englander)
"A wonderful debut from a profound and sassy new voice. These seemingly effortless stories are uncommonly perceptive, deeply felt, and at the same time exceedingly funny." (Colum McCann)
"Hilarious and moving and powerful. [Holmes is] articulating with devastating precision something unique about the strange times we live in, something unique about who we are and who we become." (Phil Klay)
"My all-time favorite brand of fiction: Deceptively Simple. These are stories that you can't help but inhale, then trouble over gloriously after they've ended." (Alicia Erian)
"These stories will make you fall in love, break your heart, and build you up again." (Bill Cheng)
"An extraordinary book - bighearted, fearless and incredibly funny. Every one of these beautiful stories blew me away." (Molly Antopol)
"Barbara the Slut turns our obsession with sex on its head in order to study it, dissect it, weaponize it." (Esquire)
"Simultaneously hilarious and deeply insightful. Written with honesty and heart, Holmes's characters are delightfully real." (Buzzfeed)
"Super funny...honest and open.'"(Bustle)
"The people limned here are people we know. They may even be the people we are. A first-rate first collection from a young writer you'll want to hear more from.'"(Kirkus)
"Holmes' characters read like everyday people we've loved, hated, crossed the street to avoid and learned from, all described in her no doubt soon-to-be-recognized signature style." (Ms)
"Ten precocious stories limn the deep humor, table-turning dualities, and inevitable bouts of screwed-upness that accompany getting through one's twenties and beyond. The writing has gusto and guts....In Holmes's beautifully brazen stories, worlds collide in fresh, imaginative ways." (Elle)
"Astonishing - one of those rare books that manages to be both poignant and hilarious. The last time we had a debut this big was Junot Díaz with Drown. Holmes is a major talent." (Philipp Meyer)

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