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Book Public: 'Half-Lives' by Lynn Schmeidler

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Lynn Schmeidler
Photo credit: Alison Sheehy
Lynn Schmeidler

Heightened restrictions about what women can and cannot do with their bodies is just a fact of our world today.  Half-Lives is a collection of stories by Lynn Schmeidler that explores themes of girlhood, sexuality, motherhood, identity, and aging–in a world bent on controlling the narrative–but where such conventions simply do not apply. 

In these stories we find a woman who lists her body on Airbnb.  Another story has a character who lies in state on the dais of her mother’s yoga studio. She is a veritable Sleeping Beauty.  Why won’t anyone wake her up? In yet another story, an intern working at a museum confesses to having an affair—but she does it through a museum audio guide. 

The stories are limned with absurdity and dark humor, but they deal with serious matters. And clues to the meaning lie in the surreal elements. 

Lynn Schmeidler is the author of Half-Lives. It’s published by Autumn House Press. 

Half-Lives was selected by Matt Bell as the winner of the 2023 Autumn House Rising Writer Prize in Fiction. 

Read more about Lynn Schmeidler by visiting her website

Yvette Benavides can be reached at bookpublic@tpr.org.