Whatever Used to Grow Around Here
Observatory (543 Union St., Brooklyn)
Free + free drinks with a purchase of the book

Whatever Used to Grow Around Here by Lauren Belski is a collection of nine short stories that consider the experiences that resonate in the lives of American youth who strive to live meaningfully during times threatening to negate and dissolve.

These stories come to light against an America littered with disconcerting history and an ecology fettered to its eroding future. They bring back the tensions, desires, anxieties, liberties and passions that are our very undoing; but Belski gives us hope in the end as she confirms and explores our human connections. In their places, pieces and moments, these stories are everybody’s to remember.

Be they about a disgruntled poet stuck in a traffic jam out in the middle of nowhere, or a state-champion cross-country runner who decides at a moment’s notice to book it out of town, Lauren Belski’s stories draw the reader into their protagonists’ identities through prose that moves to the patterns of contemporary speech and plots that linger in definitive moments of love and self-discovery. This creates a reading experience that is as open to analysis as it is refreshingly uncontrived. Belski is not afraid of writing in whatever mode her story calls for, and the result is a fiction of unmitigated immediacy and profound honesty.

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