Do I have to smash a glass over the head of every single man I come into contact with, just so I leave a fucking mark?
Exiled from the art world and on sabbatical from her dead-end bar job, Irina obsessively takes explicit photographs of the average-looking men she persuades to model for her, scouted from the streets of Newcastle.
But her talent has not gone unnoticed, and Irina is invited to display her work at a fashionable London gallery. It is a chance to revive her career and escape from the rut of drugs, alcohol, and extreme cinema she’s fallen into. Yet the news instead triggers a self-destructive tailspin, centered around Irina’s consuming relationship with her best friend, and a shy young man from her local supermarket who has attracted her attention. . . .
If Patrick Bateman were a hot girl living in Newcastle upon Tyne, he’d definitely be Irina Sturges. Despite being a narcissistic and deeply flawed individual, Irina is a trainwreck you simply can’t take your eyes off of. You’re compelled to continue reading what degrading things she has her so-called “models” do in the name of art, as she takes photos of them. I loved how every photograph she had saved unlocked new memories and we got to see what she had been up to in those years prior to us, readers, getting to know her. Clark’s writing is razor sharp, and although we can agree that Irina isn’t the best person and her relationships are all terrible (her mother is evil, her best friend is awful, and the men in her life are either simps or losers), you can’t help but feel some bit of empathy in the way that she’s the way she is because both society and her interactions with people have shaped her in this way (I don’t want to delve too much into her past because of *spoilers* ).
The horror isn’t smack dab in your face, but it’s there and it’s vicious when it comes to the surface. But overall, this is a crazy adventure of human depravity, looking for artistic approval, and trying to leave a mark in the world however fucked up that may be. I totally recommend this if you loved books such as American Psycho, Maeve Fly, and Into The Miso Soup.
*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Harper Perennial for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!