Send Nudes: Snapshots of being contained in a female body

Saba Sams may lack humour, but her stories of High Millennial youth impart truth

Saba Sams: Her well-written stories are scenes of lives through which people blindly grope.
Send Nudes
Author: Saba Sams
ISBN-13: 9781526621771
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Guideline Price: £14.99

Saba Sams’s Send Nudes is the latest in a plethora of extremely well-written books by young women, about (predominantly, although in Sams’s case, not exclusively) the experiences of young women. It has already received much hype from many sources, and will no doubt sell well among its intended audience (girls and women, as well as some enlightened young men, happy to read a pink book on the bus).

Anyone who has enjoyed these writers thus far won’t be disappointed in Sams. She can craft a sentence and undoubtedly has real talent. The prose is sparse (so sparse, in fact, as to sometimes leave out, presumably on purpose, function words, such as “of”). It is also, at times, quietly lyrical. The stories are scenes more than anything, containing snapshots of lives through which people blindly grope. The characters are lost or approaching despair or finding a brief moment of reprieve.

The entire collection has a feeling of youth, of a writer starting out on their writing, as well as their life. This is a strength, if that’s what you’re looking for, making Sams a writer to read at the opposite end of your years to, say, Chekhov or Carver, who face disappointment and death from positions of knowledge, rather than the hope and fear of unknowing found here.

This isn’t a book to turn to for solace, but rather for a feeling of commonality – to know that you’re not the only scared, confused young person out there. There are many signifiers of pain, and the tone is High Millennial, subdued to the point of indifference, a sort of camera lens-style, “I can’t help what I see, I just record it” writing. Its main fault might be a slightly over-earnest lack of humour, but generally it will be, for its intended audience, a satisfying read.


Its strength are the moments of deep, emotional comprehension, the flashes of what can only be described here, reductively, as hints of “truth”. These come in the stories that deal with pregnancy, abortion, the loss of a child, or, more generally, what it is like to be contained in a female body, all of which give the reader that sharp thrill that comes from writing based in raw, even traumatic, personal experience.