A brilliantly nuanced, dark and powerful novel about women taking up space, transgression and self expression. Roberta is adrift after university, lonely and guarded having repressed an earlier trauma. When she meets a group of other women who are similarly lost, they start an underground supper club where once a month, they go wild, eat, drink, dance, shout. Bit by bit these acts of transgression empower them to understand themselves and how close they are to breaking point, with how they are treated by society, by men and how they are expected to behave. Lara Williams explores the dynamics of gender, the impossible contradictions in what society tells women about their bodies, and what happens when women rightly ignore that in search of their own truth. A must read. (Note: also contains bonus narrative recipes and a very satisfying verbal revenge scene.)
This intimate, extraordinary blend of fiction & life writing, reclaims the trope of the American road trip novel to explore the issue of child migration on the US/Mexico border. By documenting a cross-country family car journey to Arizona, (an attempt to find the missing daughters of a woman she helped in New York), Luiselli humanises the lost children by drawing the reader into her own day to day shared family language and perfectly captures the unknowing perceptiveness of children, as town by town, they experience a fractured and ‘fucked up’ country. Weaving together the innocence of their backseat games with a growing awareness of the country’s brutal treatment of child migrants, this skilful book is ultimately an exercise in empathy.