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168 pages, Paperback
First published October 17, 2016
Q: What takes the place of looks?A 33-year-old woman is visited by 'The Guide', an androgynous, angel-like figure who enters her apartment through the window and exhorts her to organise a 'mandatory party' to celebrate the transition to adulthood. The Guide conducts a review of the protagonist's existence and offers advice. In part two of the story, the protagonist becomes 'The Host', and conducts the increasingly disastrous party in mini-chapters with titles like 'Stagnation/social hiccups/injury'. This is a deadpan story, very sly and funny and true, and I could quote just about every line.
A: Invisibility, irrelevance, debt, and unsuccessful stabs at saving to buy real estate.
I’ve been given a fresh start, a new beginning. It’s almost like being reborn, but without birth and childhood. I get to start as a young adult, when you are capable of looking after yourself and making decisions. When your body is in its prime. The only rules are you start pretty broke, and you have to have roommates.This setup is typical of the stories here. The narrator knows as little about herself as we do – whatever her previous life was, her memory of it is mostly gone, and she can't be any more specific about her new age than 'between seventeen and twenty-two'. Comical weirdness permeates the story. At a party, the narrator is stalked by a man hiding in a hydrangea bush. She starts an affair with an older, married man called Tyler Burnett, who speaks in mechanical sentences ('I would like to fuck you vaginally or possibly anally'); she also babysits his child, who is a 'forever baby' – he will never age. Things break down as the story progresses: the narrator finds all her clothes have disappeared; she's fired from work, which has devolved from 'a job at the newspaper' to watering a single plant; her shared house descends into anarchy.