Thursday, May 11, 2023

The Guest

The Guest by Emma Cline
5/16/23; 304 pages
Random House

The Guest by Emma Cline is a very highly recommended literary tale of a lost 22-year-old female grifter.

"A misstep at a dinner party, and the older man she’s been staying with dismisses her with a ride to the train station and a ticket back to the city." This is a deep dive into the life of a young woman who is  a sex worker and is desperate to try to survive by using and manipulating a man to survive. She has been kicked out of her lover's house and has five days to survive before the big Labor Day party, where she is sure Simon will welcome her back.

The writing is excellent as Cline captures all of Alex's desperate attempts to just survive and get by five days, only five days, until the Labor Day party where she is sure her recent lover will welcome her back. It is depressing, but inevitable that she will be struggling in her attempts to ingratiate herself with others in order to have some shelter and sustenance to simple survive. Her failures and shortcomings are foretold by her brief backstory. The class differences are glaring in this explosive novel.

Alex is exposed as the person she is currently, but her past is never revealed, so she is never a full realized character, but that is seemingly the point. Her work is selling her body, not her backstory, and she is an expert at being who she needs to be in order to get by. You know where this plot is heading long before you arrive at the end. Even as she makes mistakes, you actually will want her to succeed, even while knowing she won't.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Random House via NetGalley.

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