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Missive #229

A week in the life of a 22-year-old grifter in the Hamptons.

Cline does pretty-but-creepy like no one else and now takes her brand of alluring ickiness to the wealthy enclaves of Long Island (the location is unnamed but clearly recognizable) in the last week of summer. We meet Alex swimming in the ocean, high on painkillers she’s stolen from her man of the moment, a “civilian” named Simon who doesn’t know Alex is a working girl and who has invited her to spend the month of August at his place “out east.”This review is marginally better than what the customer reviews at goodreads.com gave the book. I selected it as a book to be read upon the recommendation of a bog that I follow. The recommendations have been good in the past but this book missed the mark for me. Maybe it is a woman’s book; i.e. needs a woman’s point of view. She floats along thinking about the pile of shoes left at the entrance to the beach, “how easy it would be to take things, out here. All sorts of things. The bikes leaning against the fence. The bags unattended on towels. The cars left unlocked, no one wanting to carry their keys on the beach. A system that existed only because ev­eryone believed they were among people like themselves.” Unfortunately, Alex makes a judgment error at a party that evening and ends up getting delivered by Simon’s personal assistant to the train station. But she can’t go back to the city—her roommates have kicked her out, she’s no longer welcome in certain restaurants, and there’s a dangerous man who is very, very angry with her. Instead of boarding a train, she attaches herself to a group arriving for a shared rental, successfully pretending to be one of the invitees. When that stops working, she finds another mark. Alex is very good at fooling others, but the trouble is that she’s also fooling herself, thinking if she can just make it until Simon’s Labor Day party at the end of the week, he’ll welcome her return. The riveted reader watches helplessly as her mistakes pile up and the sense of imminent disaster steadily soars, humming in every sentence. “Alex passed the white skeleton of a lifeguard tower.” “So many people with open, gnashing mouths and glasses in their hands, their private moons of alcohol.” Cline’s writing is an addictive treat, and if her cliffhanger ending cuts us off like a mean drug dealer, maybe cold turkey is the only way.

A propulsive read starring an irresistible antihero. — Kirkus Reviews

There is nothing going on here other than reading a number of short books. That and getting ready to leave for my next camp. I’ll be leaving an area where the mornings have started to warm up and going where the temperatures will be what they were here a month ago. HA Finding the perfect temperatures is an ongoing challenge.

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