Hot Little Hands contains nine funny, confronting and pitch-perfect stories about stumbling on the fringes of innocence, and the marks desire can leave. Anya, in her fake-leather sneakers and second-hand clothes, just wants to fit in at her Melbourne school.
Claire is good at beginnings. Mid-twenties and mid-PhD, she's moved halfway around the world to San Francisco – where the line between adolescence and adulthood is blurry, and every night feels new. Too smart to be serious, she divides her time between her friends, her band, her ex-boyfriend, potential new boyfriends, whiskies with beer backs, and occasionally her thesis.
And then, by accident, life starts to get messy.
Hot Little Hands contains nine funny, confronting and pitch-perfect stories about stumbling on the fringes of innocence, and the marks desire can leave. Anya, in her fake-leather sneakers and second-hand clothes, just wants to fit in at her Melbourne school. Ramona, with her suburban family and clique of friends, is just starting to stand out. Sascha is on the brink of discovery; Elise and Jenni are well beyond it. Amelia will do absolutely anything to avoid writing her book. And Kira wants to capture the world, exactly as she sees it, with her brand-new camera.
There are tales about now – about first encounters with lasting impressions, and break-ups that last longer than the relationships; about a time when late-night text messages are considered a courtship, and the most personal secrets get casually revealed online. It is the debut of a striking, wry, utterly fresh new voice in Australian literature.
'The stories are beautifully paced, the dialogue perfect. Ulman knows how to write a story, manage a build-up, hold your attention, suggest that somehow nothing much is happening while, in fact, everything is going on. I love how up-to-the-minute and street-wise the stories are, and how frank about sex and girls. This is a book which I think girls will relish, guys will need to read in order to know what girls are really thinking about, and every parent will need to keep by their bedside, especially at the weekend, so they can be fully reassured that their young daughters are having a truly good time.' Colm Toibin
'Funny, utterly absorbing, sad, brilliant, troubling in all the right ways. The stories connect to both the child and the adult in these girls, and in the reader too – I found myself lurching between embarrassed recognition and distant familiarity. Powerful, disturbing stuff – and also laugh-out-loud hilarious at times. Ulman has brilliantly mixed these different registers together into the one collection to capture something of the drama and joy and trauma of being young and female.' Ceridwen Dovey
'There's not one thing wrong with these stories . . . Ulman's ability to lure readers to a slow dawning is a rare skill . . . Finding nine killer short stories linked by theme is a difficult task, even for a writer with decades under her belt. If this is what Ulman is already capable of, Hot Little Hands will prove the start of a stellar career.' Saturday Paper
'You wince at some of the things the girls say, you fear for them, you barrack for them because – and this is testament to Ulman's talent – they come to life on the page. There is a deftness in the creation of these voices, these characters as negotiating new places and events they don't fully understand.' Jason Steger, The Age
'Hot Little Hands is brilliant, disquieting, hilarious and full of joy. Abigail Ulman is a master storyteller.' Michaela McGuire
'Full of unsettling and glorious portrayals of female desire, these women are conflicted, fierce, funny and strikingly familiar. Ulman has an immense talent for writing authentic voices.' Emily Sexton, head of programming at The Wheeler Centre
'Sharp, often funny, and packs an emotional punch . . . there's a compelling freshness and energy in these stories that makes [them] an addictive read.' Readings
'The strength of many of the stories in her collection lies in the space she leaves to the unsaid . . . Ulman has found rich fictional territory.' Sydney Review of Books
Melbourne Prize for Literature
Shortlisted • 2015 • Best Writing Award
SMH Best Young Australian Novelists Award
Winner • 2016 • Best Young Novelist
Australian Book Industry Awards
Longlisted • 2016 • Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year
NSW Premier's Literary Awards
Shortlisted • 2016 • UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing