The Guest

Random. May 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780812998627. Tr. F
With her latest, Cline (The Girls), a Granta Best of Young American Novelists, creates a deeply flawed central character who lives in her own reality with the help of drugs and alcohol. Alex makes her living as an escort in New York City, stealing money, drugs, and valuables from her clients because she thinks they won’t mind or she won’t be discovered or she will never see them again. She even steals a sizeable amount of money from Dom, a client with scary underworld connections, and then ghosts him. When she attracts the attention of a rich Wall Street broker named Simon who invites her to spend August with him at his house on Long Island, she thinks she might have secured a stable, long-term relationship. But Dom is stalking her, and when Simon finds out about him, he asks Alex to leave. Alex decides that he will cool off in a few days, so she spends a week couch surfing with various people she has duped and arrives, uninvited, at Simon’s Labor Day party, expecting to be welcomed back with open arms. Cline cleverly leaves the outcome unresolved, but readers will easily imagine an ending.
VERDICT Enjoyable reading for fans of contemporary fiction.
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