With a title like Exquisite Corpse, I was not sure what to expect. What journey was Penelope Bagieu (with translation by Alexis Siegel) going to take me on? Was I going to be Brazen or would I be California Dreaming again? Neither. I was in the middle of Pairs, locked in an apartment with one crazy-a$$ author, a girl who is as naïve as she is a selfish-20-something and one editor who put the fatale in femme fatale.
Zoe is less than sophisticated. She hates her job. She hates her boyfriend. And during a lunch break and a possibly ill-timed potty need, she meets a man who will turn her life upside down. When she meets world-famous author Thomas Rocher, Zoe didn’t know Dr. Suess from Shakespeare (okay maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but her literary tastes are less than refined). But he awakens her interests, gives her the attention (and seemingly great sex) she craves, she becomes his muse and (along with a sort-of-ex-wife/editor) the two are sitting on the secret of the century. The ins and outs of their world come to life on these pages. The colors, text and details are minimal but expressive. While nothing is graphic, there is nudity, obvious sex and language. While teens (14 and up) can do, the subtleness of some things are probably best for the adult reader. Written as if it is a novella (and therefore reads this way), this book could appeal to several different tastes.
The kicker to this book is that I hated it until the end. It felt obvious, I knew these people having read about them in goodness knows how many other stories. Nobody is exactly likable. You know where the story is going (Zoe thinks she’s amazing, the author is selfish, the editor will make millions on using her husband/author, everyone will live (mostly) happily ever after). Yet, the ending is worth every second of reading. The twist is one that Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t have done better!!