Advance Praise and Reviews: The Beauty of Their Youth

“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

“Each of Joyce Hinnefeld’s stories in her marvelous new collection The Beauty of Their Youth contains a novel’s worth of original insight. Radiant with intelligence, these stories are beautiful and haunting, formally complex, and emotionally fulfilling. Her stories are discrete, finely rendered worlds, where the characters’ desires and regrets are met with fierce clarity and unflagging compassion. This is a deeply satisfying collection by a writer of great subtlety who reveals the manifold ways in which mysterious echoes from the past continue to resound.”

—Lee Upton,
Author of The Tao of Humiliation and Visitations: Stories

“The characters in The Beauty of Their Youth are all at turning points, contemplating, longing for, or slowly realizing the end of an era in their lives. Their hopes and great fears animate the stories in this elegant collection. Told with great precision, without sentimentality, these stories follow the psychological trails along the fleeting days of youth when we outlive our eccentricity, take a last uninitiated wild ride, or imagine our life potential as “a dried up washcloth” hanging at a sink. This book is a knockout.”

—Stephanie Powell Watts,
Author of No One is Coming to Save Us and We Are Taking Only What We Need

“Joyce Hinnefeld’s stories in her new collection are revelatory in a headlong, finish-in-one night beauty. The contemporary reimagining of Carson McCullers’ A Member of the Wedding is a new classic in itself, and the prickly intelligence of the women in this story, and the others, reminds a reader of Elizabeth Strout, Flannery O’Connor, and Laurie Colwin. Hinnefeld’s characters navigate desire and community and love in landscapes made vivid and memorable.”

—Susan Straight,
Author of In the Country of Women and Between Heaven and Here

Review by Beth Kephart at Cleaver Magazine, March 3, 2020

Reviewed by Jaclyn Bauer at Centered on Books, February 29, 2020