Pretend I’m Dead

Jen Beagin. Northwestern Univ./Triquarterly, $17.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-8101-3207-8
If Beagin’s debut novel feels voyeuristic, it’s due to its incisive realism and the protagonist’s fascination with the people around her. Mona spends her 20s cleaning other people’s houses and observing her clients intently. After a heartbreak involving an addict Mona calls Mr. Disgusting, she leaves Lowell, Mass., for Taos, N.M. The book comes alive in this new location, where Mona encounters New Age neighbors, a family that may be hiding something, and a cleavage-bearing, leopard print–wearing psychic. As Mona gains insight into the lives of those around her, she comes closer to confronting her own traumas. Her quick wit (she tells people that oven cleaner is her poison of choice) and the surprising turns in the narrative (Mona’s clients are always more complex than they initially seem) keep this journey of self-discovery from veering into cliché. The result is a funny, touching look at loneliness and the search for belonging. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/24/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-8101-3208-5
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