by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
from the October 9, 2017 issue of The New Yorker
In 2010 Sarah Shun-lien Bynum was named one of the top “20 Under 40” fiction writers by The New Yorker. Since then, though, she’s been almost silent. The New Yorker published one of her stories — “The Burglar” (some thoughts here) — last year, but that’s all I’ve seen. Wikipedia indicates she published “Tell Me My Name” in the Fall 2013 issue of Ploughshares, and I’m sure there are a few other stories out there. I haven’t particularly liked her short stories, though, so I’m waiting for her to publish another novel, which she hasn’t done since 2008’s Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a great follow-up to her very strange and wonderful 2004 debut, Madeleine Is Sleeping (my thoughts here).
From a quick read of the first few sections (the story is broken up into dozens of rather short segments, shifting perspectives), it looks like “Likes” is another of Bynum’s explorations of the strange world of adolescence, looked at from the mystified perspective of an adult. I’m definitely interested, since I think that’s what she does best.
I hope you’ll all leave your thoughts below and join the discussion!