“Each story feels like a small glimpse into someone’s life. One character struggles to confront death; another reflects on a broken relationship. Difficult and vulnerable topics are expressed with a clear eye. Each one adds up to a collection about struggle and hope.” (Amazon review)
Listen to the Who Knows? podcast episode “‘Writing and Authorship’ with Nicole Zelniker” to hear more about Last Dance.
A content warning: Content in this book includes depictions or mentions of car accidents, child abuse and neglect, death, domestic violence, eating disorders, grief, illness-induced weight loss, medical trauma, racism, serious illness, sexism, and sexual assault.
Advanced praise for Last Dance:
“Ms. Zelniker’s collection of stories gives voice to the unheard, to the lost, and to those who feel invisible, vulnerable, and are struggling to be embraced. Her writing is filled with weighty details and metaphors, including fairy tales, that make the stories sing.”
-Sandra Fox Murphy, author of A Thousand Stars
“Nicole Zelniker has produced a splendid debut collection of well-crafted, original, wonderfully readable coming-of age tales. A delightful collection by a gifted storyteller.”
-Jay Neugeboren, author of Max Baer and the Star of David
“In her willingness to go places dark and light, and in prose that is both crystal clear and palpably suggestive, Nicole Zelniker reminds us that to be human means to move in complex concert with others, even when our individual dances feel like strange, dizzying solos. Watching her characters contend with the motions of their lives is like being allowed inside a room you recognize but take in from a fresh, exposed corner. A wonderful debut collection.”
-Mylène Dressler, author of The Last To See Me
“‘Last Dance’ is the impressive debut short story collection from Nicole Zelniker. With her clear, accessible prose and sharp insights into the human condition she skillfully illuminates such difficult themes as HIV, eating issues, and mother/daughter dynamics, with an eye that is perceptive and unsettling, but not without redemption. Stories such as ‘Aftermath’, ‘Lucky’ and ‘Hands’ clearly demonstrate her emerging talent. ”
-Geraldine Mills, author of Hellkite