Once a reader has taken the deep dive into 19 separate stories encompassing 19 distinct characters, this line serves as a kind of a roadmap to the whole collection. What matters to these stories, almost exclusively, is the inner lives of the characters who people them...Core’s characters are not tremendously different from one another: most are in the midst of a relationship, conversing with a sexual partner during their few brief moments on the page, and many self-define as writers or as artists ...a minimalist in her use of detail, but her plots are well developed, even if they play second fiddle to the subjective experience of the events that unfold ... With so many stories, When Watched repositions the reader constantly, so that the characters’ ever-shifting worlds, and the ways in which they make sense out of the chaos they create, become a means through which the reader creates logic as well.
When Watched, Leopoldine Core’s first collection of short stories, dwells in the realm of the sparkling mundane, the type of human matter that is invitingly recognizable, the type of matter that you yourself have participated in or observed ...in the third person and unfolding almost in real time, Core’s stories have a voyeuristic quality, like peering through the windows of a ground-floor apartment as you walk by ...tart, muted tone of Core’s narrative voice has earned her comparisons to Mary Gaitskill, Jane Bowles and even William Burroughs, but these references don’t do justice to the intimacy and relative gentleness with which the author treats her group of modern, often millennial drifters ...a startling and elegant manifestation of the author’s insistence that gravity unfolds unwilled in the midst of regular life, a sort of miracle that can occur only when you watch, wait and observe.
Leopoldine Core’s new collection of short stories, When Watched, immediately throws readers into the underbelly of Lower Manhattan ...New York becomes a steady presence and a character in its own right ... Moreover, the New York outside the characters’ windows is in constant flux, often mirroring the complex shifts in relationships that occur behind closed doors ...it’s worth noting that if New York serves as When Watched’s primary territory, its second-most-visited geography is of the mind itself. Entire stories take place in characters’ heads ... In its parochial setting and exploration of young, connection-seeking characters adrift, When Watched bares similarity to some of Ann Beattie’s earlier work.
Core’s stories enact domestic dramas that read like miniature plays perceived through a keyhole. Conveyed in close third-person, the plot is often revealed through dialogue between two people ensconced in confessional spaces... Using rapid-fire repartee that recalls Truman Capote or J.D. Salinger, both of whom influenced Core early on, her characters set out to beguile one another until they change course, their words suddenly weapons for wounding ... Perched precariously on the knife blade of desire, where people toggle between love and hate, Core’s tales are never predictable ... A common thread throughout the book is a deep anxiety about time, which threatens to impinge upon each character’s pursuit of love.
Leopoldine Core’s debut story collection, When Watched, attends to detail, and is made up of some stellar, often very short stories, and some just-alright, longer stories ...Core pays attention to her characters’ mental navigation of this incoherence instead of making Zeitgeisty representative claims. For her themes she’s chosen cohabitation, family, work, sex ... It isn’t just the details of daily, city life, but the fine kind of psychological filigrees of consciousness that’s also at work. At their best, Core’s stories convey the singularity and discreteness of experience.
New York–based author Core has put together a striking debut collection of 19 short stories revolving around sexuality and city life ... The characters are sassy, eccentric, and never afraid to speak their minds... Core is a master raconteur and organizes all of her tales around objects and places (most take place in a bedroom or in transit); she captures a quintessential New York cynicism — one punctuated with hopeless romanticism, stress, and hyperstimulation ... While the stories naturally give life to different characters, the text is successfully self-reflexive enough to harness a uniform voice that jumps from scene to scene, and the reader never lets go and never opts out of the ride ... Entrancing, subtle, and tragically poetic, this collection is an important contribution to queer literature.
This debut short story collection reveals Core’s wisdom and deep understanding of the limits of human connection. The most intimate scenes of these short yet powerful stories, most of which take place in New York City... Several stories hinge on the confusion produced in the aftermath of casual sex... Core’s dialogue is by turns searching and revelatory in this accomplished and singular new voice.