A mosaic of comical short stories about a 35 year-old single, intellectual woman trying to navigate the complexities of life and love.
Crafty comic writer Iris Smyles returns to exploring the life of her fictional anti-hero, Iris, in Dating Tips for the Unemployed. In Smyles's first novel, Iris Has Free Time, character Iris was a young, single New Yorker grappling with life after college and the pitfalls of young adulthood. In the new novel, Iris is now 35 and still single. She's grown older and while still struggling with hard-won wisdom, she continues her witty, self-deprecating and often self-defeating search for a place in the world.
This time around, character Iris--an aspiring writer largely supported economically by her Greek, politically right-leaning family--starts her journey having now completed her second master's degree and feeling that she needs to find a man and get married "before I gain any more weight, before I get too old, before people start to talk." That quest, channeled through Iris's lovably downtrodden, often absent-minded perspective, is not easy to accomplish. In 24 short, eclectic episodes, Iris--a wry observer and keen philosophical thinker--shares stories centered on men, dating, work (and the lack thereof), loneliness, friendship, sex, literature, costume parties, growing older, time travel, insomnia, Greek mythology and the complete series of Rocky movies. A large cast of characters comprised of family, friends, lovers and strangers enhance the very funny details of Iris's rich, authentic urban odyssey.
Smyles delivers another clever, insightful glimpse into the often absurd existence of an intellectual young woman who makes the idea of floundering in life a laudable art form.
Mariner Books, $15.95 Paperback, 9780544703384, 320 pp
Publication Date: October 27, 2015