I could have gone to see Jenny Jackson at a reading at Hatchard’s in London but it clashed with another reading I had with Sólrun Michelsen, the first Faroese Island author to be translated into English (??? can that be right? you see how much I retain when information is conveyed aurally). That’s just a sentence I wanted to share—it seems to perfectly encapsulate the sort of blithe, literary life that I aspire to.
I admit that I 1000% got suckered into the promotional material for this book. It was a very well done campaign, all “did you know about this agent who is the driving force behind all those books you really liked??? She WROTE a book!” or “imagine if one day Michael Phelps’ coach turned out to also be an Olympic level swimmer!” and glowing quotes from authors whose names you might not place but whose books you definitely have read (Crazy Rich Asians x 3, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Emily St. Mandel’s works…to say that this was always going to be a hit undermines the work but also is an utterly true statement.
To get to the chase: I wish this book had been solely about rich people and their non-problems. The NYT article (that I’m sure everyone read) has such delicious tidbits as “Oh no, I left my Cartier tennis bracelet in Lena’s BMW and she’s leaving for her grandmother’s house in Southampton.” Like, MORE of that please, I cannot get enough, why do you think we all mainlined Succession? (I did not, but you get the drift)
But perhaps because this is the way the world is tilting, and you never want to accidentally end up with a book that’s review bombed or pilloried instead of doing the pillory-ing, Jackson ends up swerving and giving us a somewhat dry ending to a juicy set up. The rich ones grow some ethics, the ones who married into this life are righteous, and the rest of us are seemingly comforted to know that the arc of the universe is long, yadda yadda. Except I already know that, and I want to read fiction about those who have yet to (and probably will never) see that bend!
Essentially four stars because I liked the beginning and was fine with the end