Normal People Don't Live Like This
At the center of this startling fiction debut is Leah Levinson, a teen at sea in the anonymous ordeals of a middle-class upbringing on the Upper West Side in the 1970s. In ten installments, written from varying perspectives, we witness her uneasy relationships with faster, looser peers—girls she is drawn to but also alienated by.
No one, though, alienates Leah more than her mother, Helen. Estranged yet intertwined, they struggle within the confines of their personalities, unaware of how similar their paths are. Just when they seem at a lonely impasse, each makes an impulsive change—Leah taking a risky trip abroad, Helen renting a secret room in a welfare hotel. Jolted from their old patterns, the two of them independently glimpse the possibility of a more hopeful life.
“Nothing pleases and startles a reader like a well done short story, and in Normal People Don't Live Like This, debut author Dylan Landis provides 10 of them, each a star turn. Landis knows when to be dreamy, and she knows when to be sharp, a perfect match for her themes of female desire, the quest for knowledge. [Her] precisely observed women are on the verge of everything, capable of anything.”
—Susan Larson, New Orleans Times Picayune
“Dylan Landis has a gift for creating characters... it is in her character details that the writing comes to life.... Leah is a female Holden Caulfield.... As for Landis, watch her very carefully. Once you can create characters like Leah (or Angeline, Rainey and Helen), there's no stopping you”
—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
“The characters in Dylan Landis's debut short story collection, Normal People Don't Live Like This are blessedly extraordinary.”
—Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair
Dylan Landis has published stories in Bomb, Tin House, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere. A former journalist, she has won a Poets & Writers California Voices Award and other honors for her fiction. She lives in Washington, DC.
Paperback / $15.00 (Can $16.50) / ISBN 978-0-89255-354-9 / 182 pages / Fiction