The Paper Wasp

Lauren Acampora. Grove, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2941-3
Acampora’s debut novel (following collection The Wonder Garden) is an unsettling and surreal excavation of the boundless depths of the human psyche. Abby Graven, once valedictorian of her high school class, is a 28-year-old college dropout, living at her parents’ home in Michigan and plagued by hyperrealistic and fantastical dreams in the vein of the dark movies she loves. When she decides to go to her 10-year high school reunion, it is with the hopes of seeing her former best friend Elise Van Dijk, now a rising actress in Hollywood, whose ascent Abby has been compulsively documenting. Elise is effervescent when she sees Abby again, making a throwaway comment that Abby should call her if Abby’s ever in L.A. Months later, Abby takes Elise up on that offer. Though clearly thrown, Elise welcomes Abby into her home and soon offers her a job as her personal assistant. But the more intimately Abby becomes intertwined with Elise’s life, the more she realizes how insecure and unstable her friend truly is. Meanwhile, Abby’s dreams grow more and more bizarre, making it difficult for her to distinguish them from reality, with eventually catastrophic results. Acampora’s writing is gorgeous and renders with precision and clarity the spiral of Abby’s increasingly disorienting world of obsession and hallucinatory imagery. The result is a piercing, disquieting novel. Agent: Bill Clegg, the Clegg Agency. (June)
Reviewed on : 03/27/2019
Release date: 06/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-8021-4708-0
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-6690-7
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