Remy and Alicia, a couple of insecure 30-something service workers, are not particularly happy together. But they are bound by a shared obsession with Jen, a beautiful globe-trotting jewelry designer. In and outside the bedroom, Remy and Alicia's entire relationship revolves around fantasies of Jen. Imagine their confused excitement when they run into Jen, in the flesh, and she invites them on a surfing trip to the Hamptons with her wealthy boyfriend and their group. Once there, Remy and Alicia try to fit into Jen's exalted social circle, but violent desires and class resentment bubble beneath the surface of this beachside paradise, and before long disturbing things start to happen.
... a satirical, ferocious, shape-shifting novel ... As their behavior escalates, the shape of the novel distorts and expands, until what started as an acerbic millennial sex comedy grows the gnashing mandibles of supernatural horror with a spiritual self-help twist. The structure is unconventional and disorienting, but Morgan manages each breakneck turn without spinning out of control. There’s an almost fanatically concrete simplicity to her prose that makes the storytelling absurd and unnerving and consistent in effect — like someone smiling at you without blinking, showing too much of the whites of her eyes ... At one point during her mental breakdown, Alicia builds a 'Spod,' a spa slash personal pod made from a hot tub, several two-by-fours and a sprinkling of interdimensional woo-woo dust. A Touch of Jen is a Spod of a novel: perplexing, chimeric and deliriously original, emitting an eerie power.
In this bizarre debut novel, Morgan masterfully brings dark comedy and psychedelic horror together at a slow-burning pace. Her mundane but over-the-top characters and brilliant dialogue add to the surreal and fantastical tone of this spellbinding book.
Morgan’s witty if uneven debut attempts a fantastical combination of millennial ennui, obsession, and shape-shifting horror ... There are a few early signs of a horror plot (in Montauk, Remy thinks he sees a giant beetle outside the window, then hears screams), but the gory transition in the final act feels abrupt. Morgan does a great job with the obsession theme, but otherwise this is a bit too messy.