The Beauty of Their Youth


The five short stories in this collection question the reliability of memory, how our history impinges on our present, or what risks are worth taking, but each captures moments in people’s lives when they are vulnerable:

  • a young woman is swept up in her troubled sister-in-law’s effort to escape an abusive marriage;
  • a middle-aged woman comes to a place of peace after her mother’s passing by finally asking a question she’d never had the courage to voice, of a friend she had never fully acknowledged;
  • a German visitor overstays her welcome in Florida and risks her freedom to feel connected;
  • a painter pushes himself to depict the raw, real truth in an age of absurdism and lies;
  • and a mother seeking a stronger connection to her adult daughter finds it by understanding another’s deepest loss.

Advance Praise and Reviews

“These stories are such a joy; characters so tenderly and sharply rendered, their fates and moods and circumstances so unbearably specific. Hinnefeld has an unmistakable eye for American tensions and contradictions, and here we are asked to grapple with them in all their beauty and heartbreak.”

—Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House and Her Body and Other Parties

“In these sharp, smart, and surprising stories, Joyce Hinnefeld brings to life a range of remarkable characters—from a young girl straight out of Carson McCullers’ Member of the Wedding to a German tourist who finds an unexpected home in the swamplands of Florida. Reading this collection, I never knew what was going to happen next, and I loved the experience. This is a wonderful collection by a deeply gifted writer.”

—Alix Ohlin, author of Dual Citizens