The Wrecking Ball

Christiana Spens, Author . Harper Perennial $13.95 (229p) ISBN 978-0-06-164934-9

Spens’s protagonist, Alice, just a few years older than the debut novelist herself, is the product of a transcontinental teenagehood, a British-born child of exceptionally wealthy, divorced parents with a tony Connecticut boarding school education—including intensives in psychedelics, cocaine and the old vodka-in-an-Evian-bottle trick. After graduation, Alice hangs around London dabbling in fashion and the attention of men—first Hugo, a man twice her age, and then Harry, a depressed would-be songwriter with a pedigree similar to her own. Ostensibly the story of Alice’s unrequited love for Harry, Spens’s novel also forward marches through fashion shows and fetes, cigarettes and pills, stargazing and navel-gazing. The narrative flits back and forth in time and alternates hazy points of view among Alice, Harry and Alice’s pill-happy best friend, Rose. The big field party that brings all three stories together, the Wrecking Ball, gives them a suitably soft spot to land, but the confessional narrative collapses in amoral inanity before then, ending up in a discomfiting netherworld between Gossip Girl and A Million Little Pieces . (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-06-171253-1
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