Title: Social Creature
Author: Tara Isabella Burton
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Genre(s): Adult Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers
Edition(s): Digital, Hardback
Pre-Order: Amazon | B&N
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Oxford Clarendon Scholar and travel writer Tara Isabella Burton’s debut SOCIAL CREATURE, pitched as part THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, part Bret Easton Ellis’s THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, about a small-town girl trying to survive in New York and become part of the city’s literati, who forms an intense friendship with a troubled socialite, leading to extreme consequences, to Margaux Weisman at Doubleday, for publication in Summer 2018, by Emma Parry at Janklow & Nesbit (US).
This book is absolutely fucking INSANE.
It starts out quietly enough. Troubled socialite Lavinia has a habit of picking up “strays” and Louise is the newest recruit. She’s a working-class, virtual nobody with a talent for writing on the cusp of turning thirty when Lavinia finds her, and she gets swept up in the parties, drugs, and general lifestyle of the rich in NYC. Then things take a turn for the worse when Louise does something that she can’t take back, and tries to keep her newfound place in this newfound literati group intact.
The writing style won’t gel with everyone. It’s fast, and kind of stream-of-consciousness, with run-on sentence paragraphs that some will undoubtedly find annoying, but it works for this story because everything is all over the place, manic, and nothing is as it seems. You’re being told everything and nothing, all the while knowing that every word you read is a build-up to something, that by the time your anticipation crescendos, it’ll feel like you’re about to burst.
Or, at least, that’s how it was for me.
If this book doesn’t have you reacting somewhat similarly, or at all, that’s okay, too.
The narrator is mysterious. It’s not frequent, but occasionally you’ll get a bird’s eye view of what’s happening, almost as if the narrator is kind of prepping you for what’s about to come before jumping back into whatever scene we’re in, waiting for it to play out.
This is a story about narcissism and toxic relationships where one or both parties just want to be loved, admired, and then spiral out of control in their quest to get it.
If you’ve read the synopsis above, then you know that it doesn’t say much except to make comparisons to other authors and their works, but because I have yet to read any Donna Tartt or Gillian Flynn (from the Netgalley description), I can’t speak on how accurate the comparisons are; however, I do believe that this book is unique in storytelling, and it has the potential to be one of, if not the go-to summer beach read this year. Check it out, if you think you can get past the writing style with its multiple, well-intentioned run-on sentences.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars.
*I received an advanced copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
P.S. The cover that I used above is for the hardback edition. I received the Advanced Reader Copy cover and I love that one more because it seems to fit more with the story.