By Charmaine White, Adams Park
Miranda Popkey’s debut novel, Topics of Conversation (Knopf Publishing Group 2020), smartly sheds light on womanhood, feminism, loneliness, envy, and desire. The novel follows an unnamed narrator through a series of conversations with different women over the span of 20 years. Friends, colleagues, lovers, and strangers join the narrator in her journey towards an emotional reckoning that comes about through conversations about relationships, gender, and intimacy.
While the narrator remains a consistent character throughout the short novel, what moves the story is not the protagonist’s personal life, but the interactions and other characters she is surrounded with, as well as the place and time of these interactions. Each conversation is a topical peek into the narrator’s life and the women she converses with.
As a whole, the book reads like a stylized book of short stories, tied together by the narrator, and brought to life by the people she encounters. Popkey’s dark, subversive sensibility brings forth a book that is full of conversations that will surely stay with you.