Norton. Sept. 2018. 160p. ISBN 9780393652727. $21; ebk. ISBN 9780393652734. F
The days leading up to the summer 2017 wedding of Kathy, a New Yorker living in London, to an Englishman almost 30 years her senior are punctuated by news of underground nuclear testing in North Korea, floods in Houston, the Grenfell Tower fire, and much ado about President Donald Trump. In Italy, before the wedding, the couple mingle with a well-heeled crowd before returning to London to finesse the wedding and their future together. The details of the fictional Kathy's life bear more than a passing resemblance to those of the late novelist and poet Kathy Acker, with extensive quotes from Acker's actual writing, and include an absent father, a mother who committed suicide, private school girlhood, and a double mastectomy. The jazzy stream-of-consciousness writing perfectly suits this zippy novel about people living comfortable lives surrounded by unsettling Instagram images.
VERDICT As Acker was known for basing much of her work on the writing of others, so Laing (The Trip to Echo Spring; The Lonely City) similarly appropriates Acker's life as the basis for this clever work. [See Prepub Alert, 3/12/18.]
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