cover image I Fear My Pain Interests You

I Fear My Pain Interests You

Stephanie LaCava. Verso, $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-83976-602-2

LaCava (The Superrationals) offers a sharp if uneven story of privilege and pain. Margot, an aspiring actor in her early 20s, has just been abandoned by her famous, 57-year-old, on-again-off-again lover, known only as “the Director.” It’s the latest in a series of indignities for Margot, the daughter of rock stars and the granddaughter of recording-industry greats: her mother isn’t answering Margot’s calls, her controlling grandmother is keeping an eye over her every move, and she’s recently been kicked out of Brown. All these devastations land atop Margot’s inability to feel physical pain. Her best friend, Lucy, invites her to spend some alone time in her family’s Montana mansion, and, once there, Margot explores the small Montana town and meets a surgeon from New York she nicknames “Graves.” As Margot revisits her past and her family ties from afar, it remains unclear if she’s Graves’s love interest or his case study, given his fascination with her condition. While LaCava is a funny and astute observer (of the Montana house: “It was all very beautiful, by some architect whose name I couldn’t pronounce back when I was able to remember it”)—a high-stakes turn involving Margot’s blurry arrangement with Graves fails to come together. Though it ultimately frustrates, LaCava gets plenty of mileage out of her protagonist’s small dramas. (Sept.)