The Swallows

Lisa Lutz. Ballantine, $27 (416p) ISBN 978-1-984818-23-2
This sardonic standalone by the author of the Spellman Files mystery series takes no prisoners in its attack on the misogynist culture of a New England prep school in 2009. When 20-something Alex Witt, dismissed from her former teaching job under mysterious circumstances, starts teaching creative writing at Stonebridge, she senses a simmering conflict among her upperclassmen students. Most of the more popular young men, under the leadership of nefarious Adam, have formed a semisecret society devoted to rating the young women on their sexual abilities, and, not incidentally, humiliating them. The young women, led by volatile Gemma and joined by a couple of the more enlightened guys, decide to take them down by any means necessary. As the situation escalates, careers and lives are threatened. Lutz is harder on the faculty members, whose comfortable lives depend on looking the other way, than on the more weak-willed of the male students, who scrabble to protect themselves. Although she features such a large cast of characters, she builds her plot cannily and walks a neat line between satire and realism. Lutz’s withering portrayal of how the #MeToo movement plays out in this rarefied setting should shock some and delight others. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/30/2019
Release date: 08/13/2019
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-1-4516-8669-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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