CBR Bingo – Minds, as this was a comedic thriller full of mind games (and a possible cult).
If you’re looking for something incredibly fun and intensely readable, look no further. I loved this brief ride of a book. I don’t know how I’ve managed to avoid Crosley’s writing until this point, but I plan to add more of her writing to my TBR pile.
The premise itself is rather thin – a woman (Lola) meets up with former colleagues for dinner in Chinatown. Together, they used to run a psychology-based magazine (although they seemed very loosely related to any sort of science, it seemed to be about interesting phenomena more than anything else). The magazine has folded, but their former boss, Clive, has other plans in store. Lola runs into an ex outside of the restaurant, and uses that coincidence to consider her love life, past and current. She’s had many boyfriends / dalliances / balcony moments with many different types of men, and is rather attached to thinking about despite being currently engaged to a man nicknamed Boots. While Boots feels steady and reliable, she can’t help compare her current life to the many lives she has lived with the men of her past. And suddenly, these men are not just in her mind – they’re all over Chinatown. As the coincidences pile up, Lola realizes there’s something more going on here.
We do find out what’s going on – it involves her former co-workers, and a running gag about a possible cult, and potentially meditation and astral projection and some very creepy manipulation of social media. Again, the premise itself is not exactly the thing that drew me into this story. This isn’t really a plot based novel – not that much actually happens. Rather, it’s a story about characters, and we’re affixed firmly to a very funny and astute observer in the narrator Lola. As we review Lola’s relationship history alongside her, we learn as much as she does about what Lola actually wants. I loved her voice, her manner of describing everyone around her with a hint of both derision and also a great deal of care. She is constantly moved by others, and almost pathologically hopeful – even though she’s also quite cynical and described by many in the novel as “punishing”.
It’s not quite a mystery or a thriller in the typical sense – there is a bit of a surprise in the end, but that’s not really the driving force of the novel. It’s a series of witty, often poignant observations about life and romance and becoming an adult. Even if I feel this book is better suited for an older version of me, that “me” was still in there and loved this short journey. Someone else described it as a much less bleak version of My Year of Rest and Relaxation and I think that’s fairly accurate – it’s got lots of the same ingredients (cynical narrator, coming of age in NYC, fitful romance / job situations), but manages to hold onto something more hopeful.