Popular wisdom says that if you find yourself inadvertently trapped in the mud, you must not move to avoid sinking further.
Too bad Alex – the protagonist of Emma Cline’s most recent novel (Girls, Daddy) – seems to ignore it.
The young woman left New York in disaster, leaving behind a complicated life and unsettled scores. Alex’s past is a bit murky: we guess she’s been an escort, the money is burning through her hands, and she suffers from an addiction problem, just to name one… Ah, and she has very questionable judgment.
Alex imagined spending the whole summer in the luxurious house of Simon, her rich new boyfriend who must be thirty years older than her. But hunt the natural, it comes back at a gallop… The young woman is banished after a false step in a posh party.
Rather than take his clicks and slaps and leave Long Island, Alex hangs on and decides to stay a week, until Simon’s party to mark the end of summer. It is that evening, she convinces herself in complete denial, that she will win him back.
Like a parasite, she wanders and succeeds in becoming embedded, on the margins of the high society she frequented thanks to Simon. But nothing is easy. And the young woman has an undeniable talent for getting into trouble.
In the backdrop of Alex’s drift, the beaches of the Hamptons, the mansions and the private clubs where financial success exists to be shown, spent, displayed… While Alex is chasing after this inaccessible money, the people she meets them with such casualness that it becomes violent. She herself floats in this opulent landscape like a feather in the wind, as if her life did not count, after all.
Casually, despite the beating sun, the stripes of umbrellas and the cry of gulls, Emma Cline tackles serious issues in this excellent novel to add to your summer reading list.