This one was recommended to me by a friend of mine and I’m glad I gave it a shot. While it’s not my normal thing, Mona Awad’s prose is crisp and she tells a good story.
The whole thing is a horror/satire work on the nature of grad school work and the feeling of belonging or not belonging to a particular clique. I think the horror bits work better than the satire ones. When Awad shifts into situations of hyperrealism and dream states, she describes them with a vivid sense. I read this over the course of two days. During my sleep in between, I had some intense dreams that I could only relate to the novel being lodged into my subconscious. That rarely happens when I read (I think George RR Martin is the only other writer I can attribute that to). It’s a testimony to her talent.
My issues are with both transitions and satire. Awad describes things well but she doesn’t give advance warning when Samantha, her protagonist, is going to start losing it again. I’m too literal-minded for that kind of writing; I need transitions. Also, while I think some of the aspects of satire work (as a formerly frustrated grad student), others didn’t land, particularly one big thing I can’t say without spoiling. I liked Awad’s characters. I wish she wrote them with a better sense of relationship.
Otherwise, it was good to read something different and, if the premise sounds interesting, I’d definitely read another Mona Award novel.