Hilarious, dark, and thoroughly entertaining, Getting a Life proves Helen Simpson to be one of the finest observers of women on the edge. Set in and around contemporary London, these nine stories explore both the blisses and irritations of domestic life. An ambitious teenager vows never to settle for any of the adult lives she sees around her. Two old friends get tipsy at a small cafe and end up revealing more than they intended. In a boutique so exclusive that entrance requires a password, a frazzled careerwoman explores the anesthetizing effect of highly impractical clothing. And in the mesmerizing title story, a mother of three takes life one day at a time, while pushing the ominous question of whether she wants to firmly to one side.
“Brilliantly biting . . . Mordant comedy and lush, exact language.” –Laurie Stone, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Wonderfully funny and disturbing . . . Waugh-like acerbity and wit.” –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“A welcome corrective to the recent chick-lit bubble. For those who like their fiction short, sharp and served with a side of black comedy.” –Sarah Coleman, San Francisco Chronicle
“Breathtaking and beautiful . . . admirable and haunting.” –Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America
“Both acidic and tender . . . deliver[s] some pretty serious shocks of recognition.” –Jeff Giles, Newsweek