A woman known only as A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate, B, and boyfriend, C, who wants her to join him on a reality dating show called That's My Partner A eats mostly popsicles and oranges, watches endless amounts of television, often just for the commercials particularly the recurring cartoon escapades of Kandy Kat, the mascot for an entirely chemical dessert and models herself on a standard of beauty that exists only in such advertising.Read more...
A woman known only as A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate, B, and boyfriend, C, who wants her to join him on a reality dating show called That's My Partner A eats mostly popsicles and oranges, watches endless amounts of television, often just for the commercials particularly the recurring cartoon escapades of Kandy Kat, the mascot for an entirely chemical dessert and models herself on a standard of beauty that exists only in such advertising. She fixates on the fifteen minutes of fame a local celebrity named Michael has earned after buying up a Wally's Supermarket's entire, and increasingly ample, supply of veal.
Meanwhile, B is attempting to make herself a twin of A, who in turn hungers for something to give meaning to her life, something aside from C's pornography addiction. Maybe something like what's gotten into her neighbors across the street, the family who's begun "ghosting" themselves beneath white sheets and whose garage door features a strange scrawl of graffiti: he who sits next to me, may we eat as one.
An intelligent and madly entertaining novel reminiscent of The Crying of Lot 49, White Noise, and City of Glass, Alexandra Kleeman's unforgettable debut is a missing-person mystery told from the point of view of the missing person; an American horror story that concerns sex and friendship, consumption and appetite, faith and transformation, real food and reality television; and, above all, a wholly singular vision of modern womanhood by a frightening, "stunning" (Conjunctions), and often very funny voice of a new generation."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-05-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Kleeman's debut novel is a fever dream of modern alienation following A, a young woman living in an unnamed city with B, her roommate, who has a tendency to bite people when she feels cornered. A has a boyfriend, C, who makes things "suddenly, instantaneously normal, just by explaining them." But A's dull proofreading job and her idle time spent watching Shark Week and porn with C start fading away, and events grow increasingly hallucinatory as B begins trying to look more like A (including cutting off her braid and giving it to A), and C becomes more distant. This is a world in which a man buys a supermarket's entire stock of veal, and something called Disappearing Dad Disorder runs rampant. But the strange becomes increasingly ordinary as it's filtered through A's quest to efface herself: "I looked forward to fully becoming my own ghost, which I had been told would resemble nothing and would look uniquely like itself." In the third act, a religious cult in which members wear ghostlike sheets takes center stage; members subsist entirely on a synthetic dessert snack called Kandy Kakes and are instructed to "misremember" (erase their own memories through meditative concentration). Kleeman's story is not really like any other, but could be described as a blend of the nightmarish disassociation of DeLillo's White Noise and the phantasmagoria of Bergman's Persona. It's a testament to Kleeman's ability that the text itself blurs and begins to run together—that it seems composed more of a uniform, ephemeral language than of a series of discrete scenes. This is a challenging novel, but undoubtedly one with something to say. One wonders what Kleeman will come up with next. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME Entertainment. (Aug.)