Cult Classic

Sloane Crosley. MCD, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-60339-7

Crosley (The Clasp) offers a witty and fantastical story of dating and experimental psychology in New York City. After Lola, 37, bumps into two exes in two days, she suspects it’s more than coincidence. Then her friend Vadis, with whom she used to work at a prestigious psychology journal, drags her to a meeting held by a secretive startup named Golconda run by their charming former boss, Clive Glenn. Clive is putting an obscure theory to the test involving meditation and technological manipulation, in which participants can lure people from their past for a final interaction and closure. Lola balks at the cultlike reverence the others show for Clive, as well as their New Agey vibe, but also hopes to clarify whether she really wants to marry her glassmaker fiancé, Boots. With Boots away for two weeks in San Francisco, she signs up and spends every evening having brief interactions with exes, then returning to Golconda for debriefing. When a stressed-out Clive says they only have funding for one final encounter, Lola discovers something unsettling about the experiment. The accounts of Lola’s reckoning with her romantic history are thoroughly hilarious (describing the rush of boyfriends past, she narrates, “I experienced these men as no one is supposed to experience them, as if being propelled from a T-shirt gun”), and the details of online dating, which made her “the victim of a metric ton of rejection,” are also sharply perceptive, rooting this very much in the real world. Crosley has found the perfect fictional subject for her gimlet eye. Agent: Jay Mandel, WME. (June)