A man hangs from the ceiling of an art gallery. A woman spells out messages to her sister using her own hair. Children deemed “bad” are stolen from their homes. In Hardly Children, Laura Adamczyk’s rich and eccentric debut collection, familiar worlds—bars, hotel rooms, cities that could very well be our own—hum with uncanny dread. The characters in Hardly Children are keyed up, on the verge, full of desire. They’re lost, they’re in love with someone they shouldn’t be, they’re denying uncomfortable truths using sex or humor. They are children waking up to the threats of adulthood, and adults living with childlike abandon. With command, caution, and subtle terror, Adamczyk shapes a world where death and the possibility of loss always emerge. Yet the shape of this loss is never fully revealed. Instead, it looms in the periphery of these stories, like an uncomfortable scene viewed out of the corner of one’s eye.
Laura Adamczyk’s fiction has won awards from the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation of Chicago and has appeared in Hobart, Chicago Reader, PANK, Salt Hill, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Bellevue Literary Review, Necessary Fiction, and elsewhere. Her story “Girls,” published in Guernica, won the 2014 Dzanc Books / Disquiet International Literary Program Award. She works at The A.V. Club in Chicago.
Catherine Lacey is the author of Nobody Is Ever Missing, winner of a 2016 Whiting Award and a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and The Answers. In 2017, she was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. Her essays and fiction have been published widely and translated into Italian, French, Dutch, Spanish, and German. She was born in Mississippi and is based in Chicago.