Barbara the Slut and Other People
Lauren Holmes, Read by Madeleine Rose and Christopher Ragland

Book cover image

Narrated By: Madeleine Rose, Christopher Ragland

Duration: 5 hours and 17 minutes

What to expect

‘Astonishing – one of those rare books that manages to be both poignant and hilarious. The last time we had a debut this big was Junot Díaz with ‘Drown’. Holmes is a major talent.’ Philipp Meyer

A fresh, honest, and darkly funny debut collection about family, friends, and lovers, and the flaws that make us most human.

One woman takes a job selling sex toys in San Francisco rather than embark on the law career she pursued only for the sake of her father. Another realises she much prefers the company of her pit bull — and herself — to the neurotic foreign fling who won’t decamp from her apartment. A daughter hauls a suitcase of lingerie to Mexico for her flighty, estranged mother to resell there, wondering whether her personal mission — to come out — is worth the same effort. And Barbara, a young woman with an autistic brother, a Princeton acceptance letter, and a love of sex navigates her high school’s toxic, slut-shaming culture with open eyes.

Fearless, candid, and incredibly funny, Lauren Holmes is a newcomer who writes like a master. She tackles eros and intimacy with a deceptively light touch, a keen awareness of how their nervous systems tangle and sometimes short-circuit, and a genius for revealing our most vulnerable, spirited selves. With heart, sass, and pitch-perfect characters, BARBARA THE SLUT is a head-turning debut from a writer with a limitless career before her.


Modern & contemporary fiction, Short stories

Listen to a sample

‘Feisty artifice-free portraits of modern life’ Independent

‘A fresh and darkly funny debut … Holmes has an enviable lightness of touch combined with a bracing honesty … Sassy and savvy’ Tatler

‘Fans of Lena Dunham and Sloane Crossley will find much to love in this darkly funny collection about family and friends, all wrapped up in a hefty dose of millennial angst. With her scalpel-sharp worldview and dry turn of phrase, Holmes is one to watch’ Irish Independent

‘Introduces a series of brilliant / bonkers narrators. Girls fans, in particular, will enjoy her riffs on modern love and friendships’ Glamour

‘A book I couldn’t put down. An outstanding debut, refreshing and exciting, complex and really funny’ Nathan Englander

‘A wonderful debut from a profound and sassy new voice. These seemingly effortless stories are uncommonly perceptive, deeply felt, and at the same time exceedingly funny’ Colum McCann

‘Barbara the Slut turns our obsession with sex on its head in order to study it, dissect it, weaponize it … Empowering, rare, and well, pretty sexy’ Esquire

Ten precocious stories limn the deep humor, table-turning dualities, and inevitable bouts of screwed-upness that accompany getting through one’s twenties and beyond’

‘Simultaneously hilarious and deeply insightful’ Buzzfeed

‘A comic writer of the highest standard. The stories in Barbara the Slut are far too good to keep to yourself – you will want to share them with someone immediately so you can talk about how brilliant and funny they are’ Katherine Heiny

‘Holmes’ characters read like everyday people we’ve loved, hated, crossed the street to avoid and learned from, all described in her no doubt soon-to-be-recognized signature style’ Ms

‘The people limned here are people we know. They may even be the people we are. A first-rate first collection from a young writer you'll want to hear more from’ Kirkus Reviews (starred)