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Bottoms Up
Namwali Serpell
3 Installments

“This would never have happened if it weren’t for herpes,” begins Namwali Serpell’s brilliantly weird and tragically funny short story, about a couple whose quest for ever safer sex leads to a near-fatal love triangle with a machine called the TouchyFeely. What begins as a merging of souls over mismatched argyle socks devolves into a cruel game of isolation and recrimination, as the pleasures grow increasingly more solipsistic. A quick read that will leave you thinking for days about our culture's twin obsessions with health and technology - and how these play into the way we love. This story originally appeared in the Science Fair issue of Tin House magazine.

Also available as part of the story bundle You Don’t Look Like Your Picture: Stories of Love in the Digital Age, six stories for just $4.99.


Namwali Serpell is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of California, Berkeley. She wrote "Bottoms Up" for a solicited reading at the 2010 San Francisco LitQuake (thanks to the organizers for the title) and it was first published in the Science Fair issue of Tin House (Spring 2012). Her creative work has also appeared in Callaloo, The Believer, Bidoun, and The Caine Prize Anthology. Her short story, “Muzungu,” was shortlisted for the 2010 Caine Prize for African Literature, selected to be in The Best American Short Stories 2009, and anthologized in a collection on the uncanny. In 2011, she was selected to be one of six recipients of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award for women writers on the basis of excerpts from a novel in progress called Furrow. She lives in San Francisco.

July 14, 2015
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March 29, 2016
Good One
I like this book.
Bottoms Up
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