Curtis Sittenfeld can write you like a book. In her new collection of short stories, You Think It, I’ll Say It, our city’s greatest literary export introduces character after character so specific and meticulous, yet so clearly identifiable to your own life—people you love, hate, see in the mirror. It’s the inimitable ability to build stories with such depth and resonance, like a chef layering flavors, that makes her the New York Times–best-selling, critically adored author that she is.
The book’s subjects cast a wide but recognizable net: newlyweds, newly divorced, new mothers, perennially single, adults stuck in high school. Most are told from a female, Middle America perspective. Many revolve around sex, though in a manner that hews much closer to real life than E.L. James would have you believe. Only a few mention Trump. But each one explores the constant internal dialogue we all have and the way our daily circumstances tend to feel so significant in the moment, then inevitably fade with time.
Each is quintessentially Sittenfeld, too. After a decade-plus perfecting the longform genre, this collection of short stories is like speed-dating the author, in a good way. It’s a familiar voice—nothing fresh or pioneering, exactly—but there’s a particular satisfaction when someone’s reputation precedes them. Sittenfeld’s mastery is old news at this point, and that’s the best part.
You Think It, I’ll Say It (Random House), is on sale April 24. Sittenfeld will discuss and sign the book May 9 at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Get tickets here.