"Lara Williams makes a bold debut with this razor-sharp, magnificently humane story collection." --Entertainment Weekly
She finds herself single, twenty-nine, partially-employed, and about a half a stone overweight. Roller dexter of eligible friends rattling thin. Thirties breathing down her neck like an inappropriate uncle. She jogs. Looks good in turquoise. Finds herself punctuating gas "better out than in!" patting her stomach like a department store Santa. This is who I am, she thinks.
The women in Lara Williams' debut story collection, A Selfie as Big as the Ritz, navigate the tumultuous interval between early twenties and middle age. In the title story, a relationship implodes against the romantic backdrop of Paris. In "One of Those Life Things," a young woman struggles to say the right thing at her best friend's abortion. In "Penguins," a girlfriend tries to accept her boyfriend's bizarre sexual fantasy. In "Treats," a single woman comes to terms with her loneliness. As Williams' characters attempt to lean in, fall in love, hold together a family, fend off loneliness, and build a meaningful life, we see them alternating between expectation and resignation, giddiness and melancholy, the rollercoaster we all find ourselves on.
Number of Pages: 208
Publication Date: 31 Oct 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Dimensions (cm): 18.8(H) x 13.5(L) x 2(W)
Weight (gm): 227
"Lara Williams makes a bold debut with this razor-sharp, magnificently humane story collection. A Selfie as Big as the Ritz explores women as they navigate the rocky terrain between early 20s and middle age, piecing together a collage of persistent quests for joy, love, and meaning."
"If you're a young woman navigating life's crazy and wondrous tumult, British writer Lara Williams' new story collection A Selfie as Big as the Ritz is for you."
"A fashionable fever dream where you recognize everyone but also find them fabulously surreal. There is a story in this book for every occasion, every emotion, every hang-up. It's that kind of short fiction where you secretly wish each story was its own novel."
"The stories are quick enough that you could either read them on a quick subway commute, or eat through them all in one night, and they definitely bring you on a rollercoaster of emotions."
--New York Magazine, The Cut ("15 Great Books by Women We Read This Year")
"Dazzlingly romantic and darkly comic stories about young women trying to navigate an often unfriendly world and construct identities and lives for themselves...Must-read."
"In this debut collection of short stories, Williams unfurls women's stories across various eras of life. At first their connectedness is unclear. But read them all, then step back, and a portrait will emerge, like a Monet painting for the page."
"Must-read...Winning this week's award for best title, A Selfie as Big as the Ritz is a bold short-story collection that finds women navigating everything: love, work, life in general from their early 20s to middle age."
--New York Post
"Filled with humor and lots of heart, the stories in this collection explore that crazy, predictably unpredictable, angst-ridden time of life between a woman's early twenties and middle age: you know, those years when we figured we'd have things all together by now, but really, we're only just getting started."
"Williams explores young women's lives, navigating singledom, couplehood, breakups, unexpected pregnancies, sexual fetishes, bad dates, and other shoals of contemporary adulthood. This 'Selfie' sparkles."
"When you can collide F. Scott Fitzgerald and pop culture so seamlessly in a title, you can bet the stories within will be good."
"From the language to the characters, Williams' stories brim with punchy elegance and humor. Here is a confident writer with an irresistible voice."
--Weike Wang, author of Chemistry
"Maybe you meet someone. Maybe you fall in love. Maybe you break up. Maybe someone writes a book about your life. This is that book. Brilliant stories; awesome debut."
--Nicholas Royle, editor of Best British Short Stories 2015
"A Selfie as Big as the Ritz is accurately named--it has the sophistication and latent romanticism of Fitzgerald's best short stories. Lara Williams has a quick wit, an empathetic ear, and a devastating eye for detail--I will never look at diabetic chocolates quite the same way. This book is brilliant."
--Rebecca Harrington, author of Penelope
"A dark wonder. An often harrowing (and in parts, very, very funny) debut, it targets the unfathomable nonsense of relationships, work and modern living with a keen eye, head-spinning wordplay and enough compassion to crush your heart. Buy it for everyone you know."
"What a wonderful collection. Very smart and VERY funny. A stunning mix of measured wisdom and raw emotion."
--Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals
"Deeply personal...Pointillistically composed...Williams can limn huge swaths of a character's life in a handful of pages by zeroing in on details that communicate everything about everything, all in an instant."
"Inventive...Recalling Lorrie Moore at her most concise."
"Williams has a firm grasp of the relatable and the universal...A cleverly written, bracing, and so-readable navigation of modern matters of the heart."
"A glorious collection of linked stories about 20s something life in the 21st century that casts a sharp yet compassionate eye over falling in love, breaking up, friendship, and work. [A Selfie as Big as the Ritz] is Williams' first book and I can't wait for her to write another."
"Remarkable...Evocative...The author laces the narrative with tangible, almost Instagram-able details that hint at her characters' deepest desires...With hints of Noah Baumbach's youthful existentialism and shades of Janice Galloway's visceral prose, Lara Williams is one to watch."
"Seriously impressive...Reminded me of something Katherine Mansfield might have written, if she lived in a world with iPhones."