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The Lightness
by Emily Temple




Overview -

"A teen thriller in the vein of the '90s horror movie The Craft . . . A beautiful meditation on meditation . . . Frequently hilarious, and thoughtful throughout." --The New York Times Book Review

The Lightness could be the love child of Donna Tartt and Tana French, but its savage, glittering magic is all Emily Temple's own. --Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists

A Belletrist Book Club Pick

A Most Anticipated Novel by Entertainment Weekly - USA Today - Marie Claire - Elle - WSJ. Magazine - Glamour - Vulture - Bustle - Buzzfeed - The Millions - The Philadelphia Inquirer - Minneapolis Star Tribune - The Daily Beast - Refinery 29 - Publishers Weekly - Literary Hub - Electric Literature - and more

A stylish, stunningly precise, and suspenseful meditation on adolescent desire, female friendship, and the female body that shimmers with rage, wit, and fierce longing--an audacious, darkly observant, and mordantly funny literary debut for fans of Emma Cline, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Jenny Offill.

One year ago, the person Olivia adores most in the world, her father, left home for a meditation retreat in the mountains and never returned. Yearning to make sense of his shocking departure and to escape her overbearing mother--a woman as grounded as her father is mercurial--Olivia runs away from home and retraces his path to a place known as the Levitation Center.

Once there, she enrolls in their summer program for troubled teens, which Olivia refers to as "Buddhist Boot Camp for Bad Girls". Soon, she finds herself drawn into the company of a close-knit trio of girls determined to transcend their circumstances, by any means necessary. Led by the elusive and beautiful Serena, and her aloof, secretive acolytes, Janet and Laurel, the girls decide this is the summer they will finally achieve enlightenment--and learn to levitate, to defy the weight of their bodies, to experience ultimate lightness.

But as desire and danger intertwine, and Olivia comes ever closer to discovering what a body--and a girl--is capable of, it becomes increasingly clear that this is an advanced and perilous practice, and there's a chance not all of them will survive. Set over the course of one fateful summer that unfolds like a fever dream, The Lightness juxtaposes fairy tales with quantum physics, cognitive science with religious fervor, and the passions and obsessions of youth with all of these, to explore concepts as complex as faith and as simple as loving people--even though you don't, and can't, know them at all.

"A suspenseful debut." -People Pick

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More About The Lightness by Emily Temple

 
 
 

Overview

"A teen thriller in the vein of the '90s horror movie The Craft . . . A beautiful meditation on meditation . . . Frequently hilarious, and thoughtful throughout." --The New York Times Book Review

The Lightness could be the love child of Donna Tartt and Tana French, but its savage, glittering magic is all Emily Temple's own. --Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists

A Belletrist Book Club Pick

A Most Anticipated Novel by Entertainment Weekly - USA Today - Marie Claire - Elle - WSJ. Magazine - Glamour - Vulture - Bustle - Buzzfeed - The Millions - The Philadelphia Inquirer - Minneapolis Star Tribune - The Daily Beast - Refinery 29 - Publishers Weekly - Literary Hub - Electric Literature - and more

A stylish, stunningly precise, and suspenseful meditation on adolescent desire, female friendship, and the female body that shimmers with rage, wit, and fierce longing--an audacious, darkly observant, and mordantly funny literary debut for fans of Emma Cline, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Jenny Offill.

One year ago, the person Olivia adores most in the world, her father, left home for a meditation retreat in the mountains and never returned. Yearning to make sense of his shocking departure and to escape her overbearing mother--a woman as grounded as her father is mercurial--Olivia runs away from home and retraces his path to a place known as the Levitation Center.

Once there, she enrolls in their summer program for troubled teens, which Olivia refers to as "Buddhist Boot Camp for Bad Girls". Soon, she finds herself drawn into the company of a close-knit trio of girls determined to transcend their circumstances, by any means necessary. Led by the elusive and beautiful Serena, and her aloof, secretive acolytes, Janet and Laurel, the girls decide this is the summer they will finally achieve enlightenment--and learn to levitate, to defy the weight of their bodies, to experience ultimate lightness.

But as desire and danger intertwine, and Olivia comes ever closer to discovering what a body--and a girl--is capable of, it becomes increasingly clear that this is an advanced and perilous practice, and there's a chance not all of them will survive. Set over the course of one fateful summer that unfolds like a fever dream, The Lightness juxtaposes fairy tales with quantum physics, cognitive science with religious fervor, and the passions and obsessions of youth with all of these, to explore concepts as complex as faith and as simple as loving people--even though you don't, and can't, know them at all.

"A suspenseful debut." -People Pick


 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062905321
  • ISBN-10: 0062905325
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: June 2020
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

The Lightness

Emily Temple’s moody debut novel, The Lightness, follows the lives of four bright but troubled teenage girls through a strange summer as they explore some of the dangerous outer reaches of young life and love.

The “panspiritual contemplation community” known as the Levitation Center is no ordinary overnight camp. Located high in the mountains, this “Buddhist Boot Camp for Bad Girls” is home to some 60 girls: “shoplifters and potheads, arsonists and bullies, boy crazy and girl crazy, split and scarred.” Eager to escape her needy, abusive mother and haunted by the disappearance of her estranged father—last seen at a retreat at the same center the previous year—Olivia Ellis, the novel’s narrator, soon finds herself in an uneasy alliance with three bunkmates: Laurel, Janet and their putative leader, the enigmatic Serena, who has her own painful associations with the center.

Over the course of the summer, the foursome engages in a series of increasingly dangerous experiments designed to allow them to both realize the fantasy of flight and transform themselves into what Serena calls “beautiful, wrathful, whole new creatures.” Their nightly explorations are complicated by the involvement of the camp’s young gardener, Luke, a would-be mentor whose interactions with the girls, both sexual and otherwise, heighten the tension that skillfully builds over the course of the story. As Olivia reflects on these events from the perspective of early adulthood, her tone is one of mingled fascination and regret, seemingly aware that she has yet to fully comprehend all that happened to her and her friends during those fateful few weeks.

Temple liberally seasons her story with informative bits of Buddhist philosophy, Greek mythology and descriptions of how, throughout history, humans have attempted to satisfy the yearning to defy gravity. For both its mystery and its psychological insight, The Lightness will appeal to readers who enjoyed works like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History or Claire Messud’s The Burning Girl. It’s an admirable addition to the body of fiction that helps illuminate why adolescence, for all its thrills of discovery, can be one of life’s most challenging stages.

 

BAM Customer Reviews