cover image Vagablonde


Anna Dorn. Unnamed, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-951213-00-8

Dorn’s fresh, startling debut tracks the quick rise to fame of a restless L.A. rap artist. Prue Van Teesen, a 30-year-old lawyer and bedroom lyricist, believes the antidepressants she’s taking are cramping her style. “Rap and the law aren’t as different as you’d think,” she considers silently after sharing her ambitions with her psychiatrist. “They’re both adversarial.” When she meets a music producer named Jax and joins his “Kingdom” of singers and hangers-on, she’s encouraged to share her talent. Self-medicating with Adderall, cocaine, and alcohol, Prue collaborates with Jax’s crew to produce some exciting material as the group Shiny AF. Jax leads her through an exhausting series of parties that raise her profile on social media, adding to the endorphin rush of her drug cocktail. In the moment, Prue often loses sight of where she is or who she’s been with, and when one of her law clients joins Shiny AF, she hasn’t the fortitude to separate her professional life from her rising “Edgy Internet Persona” on Soundcloud. It comes as no surprise that as success looms, things veer out of control, but Dorn is most successful when she charts Prue’s interior life, which knows there’s more to life than likes (“I want to watch a movie that doesn’t exist”). Dorn’s voice slices like a serrated knife through a wacked-out world of contemporary music culture, where glittery dreams go viral and die. (May)