cover image Perfunctory Affection

Perfunctory Affection

Kim Harrison. Subterranean, $40 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59606-896-4

This plodding psychological fantasy from Harrison (the Hollows series) tries and fails to juxtapose the psychosis Sylvia Plath describes in The Bell Jar with the body-snatcher horror of Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Meg Seton is a contemporary art professor who, due to anxiety attacks, lacks a clear sense of her identity and relies upon a drug called Fitrecepon. Her dreary circumstances change immediately after she meets a new friend, Haley, “the popular girl grown up into success.” Meg abruptly casts aside her boyfriend and her apartment with the hope of receiving an invitation to the mythical place Haley calls Perfection. She obsesses over emulating Haley’s “perfect, red-painted toenails” and is ecstatic when Haley asks her to dine in a fancy restaurant or go on shopping sprees. Meg’s off-putting immaturity makes it impossible for the reader to stay focused on understanding the mystery of Perfection, leaving this story without a point. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Agency. (Apr.)