A woman spills the story of her life to a bar full of strangers, in the acerbic first novel from Laura Adamczyk.
Anything can become the story of your life if you let it, and I suppose this became mine.
In Island City, a wry, wistful woman, estranged from her family, sells her belongings and moves back to her hometown in the Midwest. To her, it’s the “perfect place to give up.” She wants to get rid of everything—her stuff, her ambitions. Before making a “messy exit,” she holes up in a dark bar and tells her stories to an audience of indifferent strangers. There’s the time the river dried up and you could walk across its bed; the day her sister got clobbered at the nursing home; when her dad got cancer, then Alzheimer’s, then cancer again. Now she’s forgetting things the way he did, words slipping away. That third drink isn’t helping.
Laura Adamczyk, whose writing is “super weird” and “super unsettling” (Eugenia Williamson, The Boston Globe), creates a full portrait of a person, even as the image blurs and fades. Delivered as a booze-soaked monologue, Island City is a funny, devastating first novel, one that bristles and burns with true feeling.