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3 Good Books
The Guest | Atonement | Yellowface
The Guest by Emma Cline (2023)
Summer is almost over and Alex has spent her days availing herself of all the amenities of Simon and his Hamptons house—floating in his pool, wearing the dresses he’s bought her, and helping herself to his painkillers at a rate she hopes he won’t notice.
Everything is flowing along hazily until she embarrasses Simon at a party, and he asks his assistant to take her to the train station the next morning. With no prospects back in the city, she decides to see if she can survive the week until Labor Day, when Simon throws his annual party and his ego might have recovered.
Familiar with the economy of helping people believe what they want to believe, Alex spends the next week hopping from host to host and using the charge accounts, phone chargers, showers, and kindness of the people she meets to stay afloat.
Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001)
When her cousin Lola is assaulted in the woods near her family’s estate, all 13-year-old Briony can think of is the strange run-ins she’s witnessed between her sister and Robbie, the son of one of the family’s servants. What she thinks she saw that night will splinter her family and follow her for the rest of her days.
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang (2023)
June and Athena are supposed to be friends, but it’s kind of hard to be friends when one of you is anointed the next big thing in publishing and the other can’t even get their agent to call them back.
When June witnesses the freak accident that kills Athena the same night she gets a look at her next manuscript, she does what any friend would do in that situation and steals the pages so she can revise and publish it under her own name.
As the accolades for the book roll in, so do the questions around authenticity and authorship. Every time June has an opportunity to come clean, she doubles down in cringeworthy attempts to justify her lies.
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