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Book Cover for: My First Book, Honor Levy

My First Book

Honor Levy

Reader Score

69%

69% of readers

recommend this book

Critic Reviews

Good

Based on 6 reviews on

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A Most Anticipated Book of 2024 by Good Morning America, W, Nylon, SheReads, and LitHub

"We count on our best young fiction writers to bring us news from the digital nervous system. Honor Levy . . . does so with special bite and élan." --Dwight Garner, The New York Times

From groundbreaking debut author Honor Levy, stories to delight and ensnare

Walking the wire between imagination and confession, My First Book marks the arrival of an electric new talent. Honor Levy's uniquely riveting voice emerges from the chaos of coming of age in Generation Z. Never far from a digital interface, her characters grapple with formative political, existential, and romantic experiences in a web-drenched society on the brink of collapse.

Inventive, ambitious, and frequently surreal, the stories of My First Book are a mirrorball onto the world as it is. Levy illuminates what it is to be at once adorable, special, heavily medicated, consistently panicked, and completely sincere. One protagonist accompanies a girl with too many teeth through an abortion, while another discovers the infinite nature of love, a third reminisces about other sunsets that were "pinker, like way pinker," and another encounters God in a downtown arcade. To find and keep faith is the order of the day--but how?

Book Details

  • Publisher: Penguin Press
  • Publish Date: May 14th, 2024
  • Pages: 224
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.40in - 5.50in - 1.10in - 0.75lb
  • EAN: 9780593656532
  • Categories: Short Stories (single author)LiteraryPolitical

About the Author

Honor Levy is a writer from California. She graduated from Bennington College in 2020. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and New York Tyrant and been anthologized in Flash Fiction America.

Critics’ reviews

Praise for this book

"We count on our best young fiction writers to bring us news from the digital nervous system. Honor Levy, in My First Book, a collection of stories that is indeed her first book, does so with special bite and élan. . . . Reading Levy is what it must have felt like to read Ann Beattie on her generation in the early 1970s . . . In this collection's finest work, Levy's sentences are cold poetry of a sort. . . . What pushes Levy's stories beyond being merely on the level of smart magazine essays is the empathy you can sense below the starkness . . . Is a hot take a stab at being found? Levy can dispense these as well as anyone. Crucially, though, she understands that 'a hot take won't keep you warm at night.'" --Dwight Garner, The New York Times

"What makes Honor Levy the voice of a generation is her ability to take all those floating signifiers and dead metaphors, all these junk-bits of content rendered inert by their repetition--on Reddit, on Tumblr, in Shakespeare--and give them new life; in other words, meaning. And she makes it look easy! At their best, Levy's sentences hopscotch through intricate sequences of signs with perfect control and infectious glee; all you want to do is sit back and watch them play. . . . Levy knows we're so lucky to see 'all of the ends and the beginnings beginning and ending and beginning and ending and beginning and ending infinitely.' And our generation is lucky to have a voice that gives us a happy ending, or, at least, a happy way to end. --The Paris Review

"Sincerity, delicately spun . . . can often begin to build toward a feeling not unlike meditation or prayer . . . Levy is able to trace something meaningful in the absurd constellation of online stimulation. At her best, she commits to a disciplined, braided lyricism where, like distant cosmological objects on the same elliptical path, the contents of her choosing--whether German Renaissance painters, Xanax, cancellations, or God--all begin converging inward, first slowly, then breathlessly, until finally they reach a terminal momentum from which your attention cannot be extracted until their moment of contact, a whimsical eruption of the inexplicable kind." --The Los Angeles Review of Books

"Levy channels the blitzkrieg of contradictory micro-observations we absorb from social media, video games, and doomscrolling to create the absurd, incomprehensible cacophony that anyone born after 1997 had to grow up enduring . . . [In "Internet Girl"] Levy's portrayal of her narrator's interiority is both compellingly satirical and frighteningly plausible . . . [In "Love Story"] Levy poignantly captures the girl's vulnerability . . . Levy smartly skewers late capitalism in "Halloween Forever." . . . A unique blend of the satirical and the poignant." --NPR

"Inventive, beautifully written, expressive of its generation, and worthy of the attention it has garnered. . . . the energy and beauty of Levy's style brings in something new. She has created something unique: an internet language in which to speak of the internet." --Compact Magazine

"Levy's business is dowsing for truth in a frantic modernity, where sensations once bodily and sufferable, like love and longing, are filtered away into digital sediment and inscrutable signifiers. . . . Levy writes in her own referential language, a lightspeed style that must be post-post-post modern. . . . it's a strange language for a strange epoch." --The Guardian

"A premier voice of a new generation of writers . . . Levy's vulnerability and insightful reflections on growing up online are what made this for me and shine through." --Electric Lit

"In near-superb proportion, Levy draws from Woolf's melancholia, Sylvia Plath's existential dread, and Didion's early adulthood sentimentality to extract some very cold but relevant truths about the society in which we live in and the next generation of leaders. It's easy to predict a future in which literary nerds, aspiring writers, sociologists, and culturally curious individuals will come across My First Book and find the holistic emotional truth about this zeitgeist that most novels, movies, or other artistic endeavors might get blisteringly wrong." --On the Seawall

"Captures the Gen Z experience . . . like reading a foreign language that I didn't know I grew up speaking." --Michigan Daily

"Experimental and creative . . . A fascinating take on Gen Z life, lived online." --Booklist

"Crackling debut collection . . . Levy shines when capturing her characters' existential dread . . . Levy announces herself as an astute interpreter of Zoomer culture." --Publishers Weekly

"This book defies definition . . . Oddly exquisite." --Kirkus (starred review)

"My First Book manages to somehow be based, redpilled, woke, cringe, and, above all else, brilliant all at the same time. (And if you're not a zoomer, it'll define some of that terminally online vocabulary for you.) Finally, my generation has a voice to be proud of." --Brock Colyar, winner of the American Society of Magazine Editors Next Award

"Fractal stories from the eschatological present, told in a strange, new, manic, and flarfy voice that I trust and endorse." --Tao Lin, author of Leave Society

"Nobody writes like Honor Levy. My First Book is brutal and feminine, dreamlike and fantastic. I relished every word." --Cat Marnell, author of How To Murder Your Life