Don't Kiss Me

Stories

Lindsay Hunter

FSG Originals

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An explosive story collection from a bold, blistering new voice

With broken language, deep vernacular, unexpectedly fierce empathy, and a pace that’ll break your granny’s neck, Lindsay Hunter lures, cajoles, and wrenches readers into the wild world of Don’t Kiss Me.
     Here you’ll meet Peggy Paula, who works the late shift at Perkin’s and envies the popular girls who come in to eat french fries and brag about how far they let the boys get with them. You’ll meet a woman in her mid-thirties pining for her mean-spirited, abusive boyfriend, Del, a nine-year-old who is in no way her actual boyfriend. And just try to resist the noir story of a reluctant, Afrin-addled detective. 
     Self-loathing, self-loving, and otherwise trapped by their own dumb selves, these characters make one cringe-worthy mistake after another. But for each bone-headed move, Hunter delivers a surprising moment that chokes you up as you peer into what seemed like deep emptiness and discover a profound longing for human understanding. It’s the collision of these moments that make this a powerful, alive book.
     The stories of Don’t Kiss Me are united by Hunter’s singular voice and unflinching eye. By turns crass and tender, heartbreaking and devastatingly funny, her stories expose a world full of characters seemingly driven by desperation, but in the end, they’re the ones who get the last laugh. Hunter is at the forefront of the boldest, most provocative writers working now.

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Book Excerpts

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THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PEGGY PAULA
 

One. In high school Peggy Paula worked as a waitress at the Perkins. Night shifts were her favorite, kids from her school would come in after games or dances with bleary eyes and messy hair and Peggy Paula knew they’d been drinking and smoking those flimsy joints she’d see them passing, the girls with smudged makeup and rat’s nests in the back of their heads, proud unblinking eyes, scanning the dining room like I dare you, I dare you to guess what I just let Jared or Steve or Casey do to me, I let him and I liked

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"Don't Kiss Me," by Lindsay Hunter

From DON'T KISS ME (Stories), by Lindsay Hunter.

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HTML Giant interview

Mike Meginnis interview with Lindsay Hunter, streamed live on Jul 22, 2013

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Reviews

Praise for Don't Kiss Me

“Mesmerizing . . . visceral . . . exquisite. Hunter's portraits are heartbreaking. She cares about characters we don't want to think about, issues we would rather not face. These are not lovable characters; they make you sad and sometimes sick. But Hunter wants to know: Who are these girls inside? She doesn't shy from speaking their truths. And reading these stories? They kind of make you feel like your heart could kick the windows out.” —Hope Reese, Chicago Tribune

 

“Hunter’s stories feel incredibly urgent. Hunter is such a talented writer that she makes the unimaginably unpleasant seem natural, and terrifyingly so . . . Those who’ve read Hunter’s excellent debut, Daddy’s, won’t be surprised by her feats. If that collection announced a formidable and refreshing prose stylist, Don’t Kiss Me cements that reputation.” —Eugenia Williamson, The Boston Globe

 

“The cover alone is great, but what’s inside will make you laugh and scream and cringe and cry—in the best of ways, of course.” —Jen Doll, “25 Books to Beach-Read This Summer,” New York Magazine

 

“Hunter is remarkably talented at taking sentences and twining them around the brain, creating a beautiful pattern out of ugliness . . . use[ing] language as a tool to excavate our entrenched humanity.” —Michele Filgate, Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

“Hunter’s magical prose is the sort of thing that might happen if George Saunders and Gertrude Stein co-edited Raymond Carver. The stories vary wildly in pace and procedure, but each has its own visceral language that goes straight to the gut.” —Ashley Baker, Nylon

 

“The collection creates a genuine sense of discomfort, forcing us to contemplate the presence of beauty in the ugliest of phenomena.” —Angela Sundstrom, Time Out New York

 

Don’t Kiss Me, Hunter’s second short story collection, is a bold, haunting, and beautiful observation of lives lived outside the scope of the mainstream . . . Hunter near-effortlessly captures the hopes, fears, realizations, regrets, and desires of the uglier, more taboo, and misunderstood side of humanity. Though their worlds may be sordid, Hunter manages to infuse her misfits with incredible amounts of empathy and humor. Instead of repulsed, we often find ourselves rooting from the sidelines. And it’s hard not to voraciously ingest all 26 stories in Don’t Kiss Me, given their breakneck pace, raw emotion, and Hunter’s own propensity for language that pops but never fizzles . . . [Don’t Kiss Me] is transgressive without being navel-gazing, confrontational without being aggressive. But above all, it contains a whole lot of Hunter’s bloody, beating heart.” —Rebecca Rubenstein, Kirkus

 

 “These 26 stories, deeply internalized in neurotic lyricism, are hilarious and fully realized portraits of the disavowed . . . And in the uproarious title story, a woman obsesses over a female coworker she envies and despises. Miranda July and George Saunders come to mind, but Hunter’s crass yet tender characters are unprecedented, relating fart jokes and impossible sentiment in stylized prose that mirrors their threadbare souls and ineffectual optimism.”—Jonathan Fullmer, Booklist

 

 

“Overall these stories land with a wet slap—messy and confrontational. They demand your horrified attention, and they reward it with exaggerated and irresistible humanity.” —Publishers Weekly

“Lindsay Hunter is electrifying at the word level, sentence level, line level, idea level. Say hello to your new favorite.” —Amelia Gray, author of THREATS

“Lindsay Hunter may be the most daring writer of any generation. Like animals on an undiscovered island, her stories are never-before-seen species to be gazed at with wonder, reverence, and no small amount of terror. In this collection of brilliant, deviant innovations, Hunter’s scorching comical voice will hold you tightly with a raunchy tenderness as you laugh and cry together through every imaginable apocalypse. Prepare to have your eyebrows singed, to get insanely high off the otherworldly fumes of its grotesque and unstoppable perfection.” —Alissa Nutting, author of Tampa

“Lindsay Hunter’s prose should be part of a survival kit—her stories will start a fire and burn you. They’re heated, sardonic, fearless, and to the point. She mixes dark humor with everyday life, reminding me of writers like Amy Hempel, Maggie Estep, and A. M. Homes. Regardless of what she writes next, be it a book of poetry, a novel, or sentences carved on a gas station’s bathroom stall or scribbled on a tavern's soggy napkin, I wanna be the first one to read it.” —Frank Bill, author of Donnybrook

“Lindsay Hunter is one hell of a writer who takes risks and leaves it all on the page in the very best ways. She makes the ugly beautiful and the raw elegant. Don’t Kiss Me, tell truths with a fierce, percussive voice that is not only wholly original but so powerful, it steals into your body, your bones.” —Roxane Gay, author of Ayiti


In the Press

Book review: Don't Kiss Me by Lindsay Hunter
An audacious and jarring new collection of stories forces the reader to contemplate the beauty in the ugliest of phenomena.
- Time Out New York

TNB Fiction | Lindsay Hunter: The TNB Self-Interview | The Nervous Breakdown
Lindsay Hunter does the TNB Self-Interview.
- The Nervous Breakdown

"The Original Series" Party Hosted by GQ magazine, Flavorpill, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux - WSJ.com
On the top floor of a nondescript West Village office building, GQ magazine, Flavorpill, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux hosted a slightly less conventional reading, with musician Holly Miranda and writer Lindsay Hunter as panelists.
- The Wall Street Journal

Feature: Prelude to a Kiss | Kirkus
Lindsay Hunter's new story collection is transgressive without being navel-gazing, confrontational without being aggressive. But above all, it contains a whole lot of Hunter’s bloody, beating heart.
- Kirkus Reviews

REVIEW: "Don't Kiss Me,” by Lindsay Hunter | StarTribune.com


The bold title of Lindsay Hunter’s new short-story collection matches the tone of her stories as perfectly as bright red lipstick accentuates the beauty of an attractive woman
- Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Book review: “Don’t Kiss Me’’ by Lindsay Hunter - Books - The Boston Globe
he title of Lindsay Hunter’s new collection, “Don’t Kiss Me,” is a warning, within it an implicit question: Why not? By the time the reader has finished the first few stories, she will have figured out at least a couple reasons. For starters, Hunter’s characters are often throwing up, or being thrown up upon — vomit crops up more than a dozen times in 175 pages. While all this effluvia might suggest a puerile sensibility, the opposite is true; although she trades in the unsavory, Hunter’s style is both ing
- The Boston Globe

“I Have Chicago to Thank”: Lindsay Hunter on Finding Her Voice and “Don’t Kiss Me” | Newcity Lit
By Erin Nederbo Gritty and oftentimes unsettling, Lindsay Hunter’s new short-story collection, Don’t Kiss Me, features a cast of fierce and lonely
- Newcity Lit

"The Original Series" Party Hosted by GQ magazine, Flavorpill, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux - WSJ.com
On the top floor of a nondescript West Village office building, GQ magazine, Flavorpill, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux hosted a slightly less conventional reading, with musician Holly Miranda and writer Lindsay Hunter as panelists.
- The Wall Street Journal

Review • Don’t Kiss Me by Lindsay Hunter | The Coffin Factory
These stories should be more disturbing and less funny than they are.
- Coffin Factory

Richard Thomas | Review of Don't Kiss Me, by Lindsay Hunter | The Nervous Breakdown
Fearless short stories that show humanity at its best, and worst, always with an honest eye.
- The Nervous Breakdown


Reviews from Goodreads

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About the Author

Lindsay Hunter

Lindsay Hunter is the author of the story collection Daddy’s. She lives in Chicago, where she is the cofounder and cohost of the flash-fiction reading series Quickies!.

Lindsay Hunter

Zach Dodson
Lindsay Hunter

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Available Formats and Book Details

Don't Kiss Me
Stories
Lindsay Hunter

Award

Amazon.com Best Books of the Year, Flavorwire Best Books of the Year

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
FSG Originals
July 2013
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374533854
ISBN10: 0374533857
5 x 7 1/2 inches, 192 pages
$14.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
FSG Originals
July 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780374710118
ISBN10: 0374710112
192 pages
$9.99
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