Half-Lives

Winner of 2023 Autumn House Rising Writer Prize, selected by Matt Bell

US List Price: $19.95

Buy Now

Also available as e-book.

Half-Lives

Winner of 2023 Autumn House Rising Writer Prize, selected by Matt Bell

US List Price: $19.95

Buy Now

Also available as e-book.

About the Book

Amid heightened restrictions about what women can and cannot do with their bodies, Lynn Schmeidler’s debut short story collection, Half-Lives, is a humane, absurd, and timely collection of narratives centering on women’s bodies and psyches. Playful and experimental, these sixteen stories explore girlhood, sexuality, motherhood, identity, and aging in a world where structures of societal norms, narrative, gender, and sometimes even physics do not apply. The protagonists grapple with the roles they choose and with those that are thrust upon them as they navigate their ever-evolving emotional lives. A woman lists her vagina on Airbnb, Sleeping Beauty is a yoga teacher who lies in state on the dais of her mother’s studio, and a museum intern writes a confession of her affair in the form of a hijacked museum audio guide.


Praise for Half-Lives

Lynn Schmeidler’s “InventEd” won the 2023 BOMB Fiction Prize
Featured in Electric Lit’s “15 Indie Press Books to Read This Spring”

Schmeidler’s stories have a touch of the gruesome and absurd, but the currents that run through the collection are longing, desire, and outrage. Each story has a different narrator, but there emerges a collective voice for women in different times, points of life, and indeed, material planes. . . .  A wild and original collection.
Electric Literature

Schmeidler’s entertaining and farcical debut collection features darkly humorous stories about women’s bodies and sexuality. . . .  Schmeidler’s offbeat tales are wonderfully bizarre.
Publishers Weekly

Half-Lives, a collection of stories by Lynn Schmeidler, is a stunning debut by an author who is unafraid to write evocatively, experimentally, and with a raw vulnerability that will inevitably stir contemplation and conversation. Challenging stigmas and the silence which surround issues of women’s autonomy, as well as their mental and physical health, Schmeidler has crafted sixteen stories that speak to the deepest (and at times uncomfortable) truths about what it means to walk through this world as a woman.
The Masters Review

The terrain of marriage, motherhood, aging and other core female experiences is revealed afresh in this short story collection from Hudson Valley resident Schmeidler, whose gift for bending the constraints of reality into pretzels is matched only by the precision-tuned prose that transports us into her premise.
Chronogram

Among a great number of extraordinary submissions to this contest, Lynn Schmeidler’s “InventEd” was the one I found myself circling back to again and again. . . . The story balances an insouciant warmth and humor against a vertiginous glimpse into the mysteries of solipsism, longing, and the risk of dissolving the self in intersubjective desire. Plus, it’s goofy.
—Jonathan Lethem, 2023 BOMB Fiction Contest Judge

Read More

Lynn Schmeidler’s fiction has appeared in Conjunctions, Georgia Review, KR Online, The Southern Review, and other literary magazines. Her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and received a notable citation in Best American Short Stories. She is the recipient of a Sewanee Writers’ Conference Tennessee Williams scholarship in fiction and has been awarded […]

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