Boyfriends by Tara Atkinson



Originally published as an eBook, Boyfriends by Seattle writer Tara Atkinson is now coming out as a chapbook. This lifelike fiction is an exploration of the modern relationship. It’s funny and sly—one of those quiet and subtle pieces of work that seems to have a flat, pristine surface, but when it is examined closely, it reveals the bumps and abrasions, the nicks and the scar tissue that is left behind on each of us as we attempt to navigate the journey our hearts take as we grow and learn.

“By turns sad, funny, and sharp, Boyfriends is a story that is brutally (and refreshingly) honest. Atkinson turns her clear-sighted prose on the procession of men that come in and out of the main character’s life, and renders these episodes with an insight and intelligence that leaves the reader spinning. Perhaps best of all, Atkinson relates all this with a mature and skillful understatement, a fact that allows Boyfriends to be, among other things, a cutting and relentlessly true commentary on what it is to be a woman alone.” –Arna Bontemps Hemenway, author of Elegy on Kinderklavier

“Tara Atkinson writes about young love the way people truly experience it: full of self-doubt, but also sublime self-assurance, a godlike feeling that you’ll live and want forever. Beautifully heart-wrenching, Boyfriends is a necessary, honest look at what it means to be alive and a woman, navigating the intricacies of family and faith alongside first love (and love, and love, and love). Powerfully written, it is work that will appeal to anyone who has ever tried to understand their own heart.” –Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things

“I love everything Tara Atkinson does, but especially Boyfriends. It perfectly showcases Atkinson’s ability to reveal the brutality beneath the everyday, the threat of both patterns and our attempts to break those patterns. I read this and then I read it again a second time because I wasn’t ready to let go of the protagonist’s hand even though she’d broken every one of my bones.“ –Jac Jemc, author of The Grip of It

“Tara Atkinson is a Seattle treasure that should no longer be kept secret, and Boyfriends is a quiet masterpiece. Reading Atkinson always transports me to another place in an instant. Her lines are cinematic, brutally honest and crafted, and they follow me around like ghosts because they’re so sharply dead on. There’s a sadness to knowing so clearly, so precisely, so much. The book needs to be read. Then it needs to be celebrated.” –Richard Chiem, author of King of Joy
“It’s snide and reductive to say that Tara Atkinson’s novella Boyfriends was (Kristen Roupenian’s) “Cat Person” before “Cat Person” was “Cat Person,” but if that gets you to read the book, I’ll say it. Boyfriends is about what it means to be a woman in a society where we still often judge women based on their relationship to men. It’s funny and sad and it might make you mad, but you will definitely recognize the woman in this story.” —Paul Constant, The Seattle Review of Books

Tara Atkinson’s work has appeared or is forthcoming from Hobart, Fanzine, HTMLGIANT, the Iowa Review, Moss and elsewhere. She lives in Seattle.

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