Topics of Conversation: A novel (Paperback)

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Topics of Conversation: A novel By Miranda Popkey Cover Image

Staff Reviews

Topics of Conversation is composed almost entirely of conversations between women - especially the raw and gritty moments, and sometimes terrible confessions, of the unnamed narrator. She is wry and careening through her life, a memorable first offering from author Miranda Popkey! An excellent little novel with a lot of bite. 

— Johanna


A compact tour de force about sex, violence, and self-loathing from a ferociously talented new voice in fiction, perfect for fans of Sally Rooney, Rachel Cusk, Lydia Davis, and Jenny Offill.

“Shrewd and sensual, Popkey's debut carries the scintillating charge of a long-overdue girls' night." —O, The Oprah Magazine
A Best Book of the Year by TIME, Esquire, Real Simple, Marie Claire, Glamor, Bustle, and more

Composed almost exclusively of conversations between women—the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves—Topics of Conversation careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. In exchanges about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage, Popkey touches upon desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, and guilt. Edgy, wry, and written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism, this novel introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.

About the Author

MIRANDA POPKEY lives in Massachusetts. Topics of Conversation is her first novel.

Praise For…

Named a best book of the year by TIME, Esquire, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, Glamor, and Bustle

“Lyrical. . . . Smart and raw.”
The Washington Post

“Sally Rooney-esque. . . . Popkey's sentences careen breathlessly as her halting, staccato prose mirrors the ‘churning’ within the narrator's mind. . . . A shrewd record of the act of unflinchingly circling these amorphous notions of pain, desire and control.”
The New York Times Book Review

The New Yorker
“Electrifying. . . . Shrewd and sensual, Popkey's debut carries the scintillating charge of a long-overdue girls’ night.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“Slim but potent... has the flavor of Rachel Cusk. . . . Provocative. . . . Sure to spark conversation.”
“Formally adventurous and blisteringly current. . . . In glittering prose, Popkey illuminates the performative nature of storytelling, assessing the degree to which the stories we tell about our lives are fictions.”
“As [the narrator] explores her own history through a shifting lens of female rivalries and friendships, the book's surface coolness begins to peel away, revealing the raw, uncommon nerve of a radically honest storyteller.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Masterfully controlled, delightfully chilly.”
The Boston Globe
“Icily intelligent. . . . Reading Topics of Conversation [is] as thrilling as being told a secret.”
The San Francisco Chronicle
“Perceptive, biting. . . . There’s much to relate to and dogear in this slim book.”
Real Simple
“Bedazzling. . . . A slender volume with the power of lightning.”
“Rich and rigorous.”
Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9780525566366
ISBN-10: 0525566368
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: March 9th, 2021
Pages: 224
Language: English