Armed with trust funds and pedigrees but bent on rebellion, twenty-somethings Alice, Harry, Rose, and Hugo are teetering on the brink of self-destruction. With Manhattan and London as their playgrounds, they chase oblivion--and their next high--through a glittering blur of nightclubs, decadent parties, high fashion, and underground music scenes, hard-partying on the razor's edge with a never-ending cocktail of drugs and booze. Insomniacs and unstoppable, these four lost souls ride the extreme highs and devastating lows of a summer that quickly reaches a crescendo of music, heat, and hedonism. Wavering between moments of revelation and ruin, they illuminate a generation given everything--except an answer to the timeless question: Who am I?
From a remarkable new literary voice comes a startling, fresh, strikingly candid novel of addiction and excess.
Spens's protagonist, Alice, just a few years older than the debut novelist herself, is the product of a transcontinental teenagehood, a British-born child of exceptionally wealthy, divorced parents with a tony Connecticut boarding school education--including intensives in psychedelics, cocaine and the old vodka-in-an-Evian-bottle trick. After graduation, Alice hangs around London dabbling in fashion and the attention of men--first Hugo, a man twice her age, and then Harry, a depressed would-be songwriter with a pedigree similar to her own. Ostensibly the story of Alice's unrequited love for Harry, Spens's novel also forward marches through fashion shows and fetes, cigarettes and pills, stargazing and navel-gazing. The narrative flits back and forth in time and alternates hazy points of view among Alice, Harry and Alice's pill-happy best friend, Rose. The big field party that brings all three stories together, the Wrecking Ball, gives them a suitably soft spot to land, but the confessional narrative collapses in amoral inanity before then, ending up in a discomfiting netherworld between Gossip Girl and A Million Little Pieces. (Oct.)
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October 06, 2008
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