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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Sarahland: Stories by Sam Cohen

The various Sarahs of Cohen's stories take on frequently unorthodox searches for self and meaning--while coping with versions of the universal challenges women have faced throughout time.

Each of the Sarahs in Cohen's stories copes with societal pressures, identity crises, and misogyny--in ways that felt both familiar to me as a reader yet unique to the characters and their situations.

Sarahland is frequently offbeat and often seemingly shallow--yet weighty truths underlie the sometimes bizarre circumstances of each story. The stories are sometimes dark and darkly funny, and the situations range from that of a Sarah who is being paid to act out necrophilia fantasies; to a Sarah who is a reimagined trans biblical character; to a Buffy-obsessed Sarah writing fan fiction to understand her romantic journey.

Cohen's collection of stories felt rooted where universal experience intersects with the uniqueness of Any Woman’s experiences in the world, and the author's unusual setups and captivating tones add layers of interest. I felt uneasy a good bit of the time I was reading this, and I never predicted where Cohen was taking me.

Gems of details of certain eras (a tin of lip balm, designer jeans, burned CDs, the existence of OkCupid) cement the reader entertainingly in specific times and places.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

I mentioned this book (along with Last Summer at the Golden Hotel and The Maidens) in the Greedy Reading List Three Books I'm Reading Now, 6/8/21 Edition.

Cohen also wrote Withering Leaves, a novel about love and life that was published in 2019.


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