cover image Out of the Picture

Out of the Picture

Polly Samson. Little, Brown Young Readers, $13.99 (256pp) ISBN 978-1-86049-864-0

A clerk in a London photo agency, 20-something Lizzie is trapped in an unhappy affair with her compulsively philandering married boss. For Lizzie, the likably neurotic heroine of Polly Samson's Out of the Picture, everything that's wrong with her life seems to lead back to her father, who abandoned the family when she was small and continues to obsess her. Samson's debut novel (which follows the story collection Lying in Bed) is a finely crafted diversion, but if there are no wrong notes, there's also not much that sets these characters apart from the distant parents and mournful young women who populate so many post-Mona Simpson coming-of-age novels.