Send Nudes by Saba Sams review – sex and solitude squib

The earthy resilience and joie de vivre of these stories about being a young woman today make for an exhilarating debut

“I don’t know if I was enjoying myself or just in a continual state of curiosity,” says Meg in Snakebite, one of 10 short stories in 25-year-old British author Saba Sams’s exceptional debut collection. Sams joins the ranks of writers such as Megan Nolan and Frances Leviston with these acute portraits of the fragile intimacies and euphoric moments snatched by a generation of women coming of age into a precarious future.

The first story in the collection, Tinderloin, was shortlisted for the White Review short story prize in 2019; the second, Overnight, was published by Sally Rooney in the literary magazine The Stinging Fly; and the third, Snakebite, has recently featured in Granta. Sams’s characters navigate the gaps between expectation and reality that emerge with encroaching adulthood – preoccupied parents, uneven friendships, misleading kisses. Unfolding against a backdrop of grimy pubs, music festivals and yoga yurts, these funny, surprising stories articulate the wonder and disillusionment that go hand in hand with testing new boundaries.

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