Last night I went to a wonderful reading at Diesel Bookstore in Brentwood: Dylan Landis, reading from her new novel-in-stories, Normal People Don’t Live Like This. As a writer working on a novel-in-stories myself, one also centered on a difficult and complicated female character, and who’s been exposed to some of Dylan’s work, I have been keenly awaiting the arrival of this book.
Dylan read from the story “Underwater,” which revolves around, among other things, a charged friendship between the main character, teen-aged Leah, and her bad-girl friend Angeline. When Angeline brags to other girls how smart Leah is, “Leah glows as if Angeline has put a match to her.” They have one kind of dynamic in a group: “but when they are alone together Angeline is a knife under folds of silk and Leah can’t look away.”
More on Normal People Don’t Live Like This after I’ve had a chance to read the book cover to cover. Some of the stories have been previously published in journals like Tin House, Bomb, Night Train, Santa Monica Review, and St. Petersburg Review. The book has been praised by writers like Janet Fitch (White Oleander) and Elizabeth Strout (the Pulitzer-winning Olive Kitteridge).