Cult Classic employs the same first-person style as her essays, which results in a more intimate dynamic between reader and narrator. Lola is observant, cynical and so self-aware it makes progress difficult — a watched pot refusing to boil ... Lola’s wit and savvy make her a genial narrator, but it’s her emotional honesty that makes her a strong one. Crosley’s writing is as funny as ever, with a great line or clever observation on nearly every page ... As in her essays, her fascinating conceits — entertaining and compelling in their own right — are the engines of the narrative, but her insights into contemporary life are the fuel ... The only slight misstep occurs at the conclusion, which is presented as a happy one but manages to be bleak instead.
Crosley skillfully crafts these stories so each relationship feels full and unique, as if each could have made a book of its own. And yet Cult Classic moves swiftly, cutting quick ... Cult Classic is a spirited, sometimes delightfully mean-spirited, occasionally weird trip through urban life and love in the 21st century.
Delicious, spooky ... The novel’s happenings are conceptual, but the feelings it inspires are pretty universal. There’s a thick ooze of malaise throughout, a pleasing sinking feeling of dread and desire and compulsion. The plot of Cult Classic feels less important than the writing — the story sags a bit in the middle — but Crosley’s prose crackles throughout ... The novel reads like a memoir — which makes sense, considering that Crosley is the author of three essay collections ... Her writing defines the diverse list of small grievances and indignities that come with trying to date men ... Reading Cult Classic is...a discomfiting experience that you can’t stop engaging in, like grinding your molars until they hurt in a good way. If you’ve had the recent displeasure of dating in New York, or dating in general, or if your past keeps coming back to haunt you, the book may give you déjà vu ... It’s a good thing Cult Classic is so funny, because otherwise it would be kind of bleak ... I’d perhaps not recommend this novel for anyone experiencing cold feet before a wedding. (Or maybe it’s exactly what I’d recommend; depends on the couple.)
... [Lola's] tendency to conflate men — or at least some of them — into a blur of micro-annoyances, rudely stated requests for non-monogamy and unevenly split bills does sap the love story of much meaning or fun: What does it matter whether Lola winds up with Boots, when their relationship, like the others before it, can be reduced to a few superficial qualities, his height and his friends’ pastimes, eating grain salads at park picnics? ... Crosley’s wit and fast-paced plotting lends itself better to some of Cult Classic’s later scenes, set in a marble-laden start-up space inside an abandoned synagogue, with espresso, but, notably, no cold-pressed juice, on offer ... The cultlike quality of companies offering camaraderie in lieu of livable wages is an ideal subject for Crosley, who skewers the setup but regards those who fall for it warmly ... Although more-lasting love is presented as an alternative to the internet’s sheen, Crosley can’t seem to commit to that deepening of character and connection in the end. Instead, the book is a fun house mirror on an alienated set of urbanites, an endless supply of sharp takes.
Sloane Crosley is a force to be reckoned with, especially when writing about the romantic lives of thirty-somethings in New York City. Her new book supports this notion with the quirky characters, her deep knowledge of lower Manhattan, and her droll and confessional prose ... will entertain readers with its clever plot, replete with a plot twist and surprising denouement. Crosley’s genius and unique voice are further highlighted through her idiosyncratic characters and her ability to write across genres. She is a rare wonder whose spirited imagination places her right at the top. As a treat, the author may even divulge to her readers the significance of Lola’s meetings with her ex-lovers, if Boots gets kicked to the curb, or if he makes it back home to her safely.
If you’re madly in love, stay away from Cult Classic. By the last page, you may not be. It’s an anti-rom-com, by which I mean a rom-com in cynic’s clothing ... It’s a neat – and delightfully feasible – framing device for a novel, one that reminds you that the bestselling New York essayist Sloane Crosley is a caustic skewerer of internet millennial life on a par with Patricia Lockwood. It enables her to pose a bunch of big old questions about love and companionship in a way that feels twisted and fresh ... Crosley is dry and very funny ... If ultimately Cult Classic has more of a concept than a plot, it hardly matters since it’s a truly fun way to pass the time. Yes, it’s just a romance, but deciding who to recruit for your own personal cult, otherwise known as monogamy? Seems like a pretty big deal to me.
... overflowing with razor-sharp social critique and laugh-out-loud one-liners, causing me to leave many exclamation marks in the book’s margins ... though I appreciate Crosley’s satirical style and sharp wit, the relentless skewering of one ex after another becomes problematic ... In short, men are always, intrinsically, wrong, not to mention stupid, and this sort of misandrist belittling continues throughout the novel ... I imagine many readers will nod along with Lola’s mockery of men, wondering what’s the problem. The problem, it seems to me, is a rather embarrassing lack of empathy. After all, many critics claim that reading fiction creates empathy ... If this capacity to create empathy is the purpose of fiction, or at least one of its greatest benefits, then Crosley’s Cult Classic fails in a crucial way ... Crosley is at her most insightful when she captures the way certain moments and feelings mark our minds forever.
Crosley is an especially funny writer, and she injects that humor into Lola’s sharp-eyed metaphors as our narrator ... In light of that, the minor 'flattening' of Lola’s personality that accompanies the resolution at the end of the novel seems a little sad at first glance. But in a darkly comedic reminiscence Lola has with Clive at the tail end, Crosley seems instead to suggest that the ending we see is just one possible way forward out of many.
Through Lola, Crosley wields language like a rapier, slicing off layers of self-delusion and self-doubt to find even more layers underneath. Lola needs to make some hard decisions about her spouse-to-be-or-not-to-be, but in order to do that, she must uncover the secret at the heart of her guru’s creation. Does Golconda, like Lola’s checkered past with men, carry within it the seeds of its own destruction? If it implodes, can she withstand the fallout? And will the universe call her back before it’s too late?
... an inventive, fantastical comic novel with decidedly modern preoccupations, among them wellness, social media and hipster-cool. But Sloane Crosley simultaneously explores one of fiction's most traditional themes: the trials of romance, which narrator Lola suspects 'may be the world's oldest cult' ... contains several items on a sci-fi thriller's ingredient list: mind control, ghosts, a feat of physical daring and a race against the clock. (Will Lola get everything sorted out before Boots returns from a trip to San Francisco?) And yet Cult Classic never strays from rom-com territory, with longtime serial dater Lola routinely lamenting her checkered history with dodgy men ... As ever, Crosley is reliably funny as well as winningly piquant with her characters' observations.
... [a] darkly humorous and affectingly serious exploration of romantic relationships and the big questions they engender ... a stylish book that blends smarts and snark, cynicism and optimism, playfulness and thoughtfulness. The premise is inventive and compelling --- not just the idea of revisiting old relationships, but the mechanism of how it works. Clive’s cult is not overly explained, and Crosley could have upped the menace just a bit for greater impact. Still, she is more concerned with the emotions and the effects of Clive’s enterprise on Lola than a scientific realism. Crosley’s writing is brisk and witty, if sometimes overworked. She turns a phrase with distinct aplomb, sharp humor and keen insightfulness.
The addictive result is like your favorite rom-com meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with a light soupçon of Ghostbusters ... Crosley casts a spell with lightning wit, devilish dialogue, and walloping truths about how little reason there is to anything resembling love.
Lola is the narrator at the center of the story. She’s a newly engaged New Yorker in her late 30s who is delightfully (and maddeningly) sassy and smart. Her sharp, hilarious perspective is the key strength of this 21st-century look at love ... It’s here that Crosley’s book, initially presented as a smart, acerbic take on contemporary dating and mating, morphs into something far more nuanced. The author makes Lola’s experience wholly real and relatable but also unique. Throughout, the reader watches a woman evolve from somebody who believes she has a firm grasp on who she is into one who questions her own sanity ... Crosley perfectly illustrates the confusion and panic that come with making that momentous choice, while also commenting on the dubious value of today’s pervasive wellness culture ... I see Cult Classic as being in conversation with other works that blend humor and romance with light science fiction, such as the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Readers who gravitate toward witty, unconventional love stories will enjoy it very much. I certainly did.
A witty and fantastical story of dating and experimental psychology in New York City ... The accounts of Lola’s reckoning with her romantic history are thoroughly hilarious...and the details of online dating, which made her 'the victim of a metric ton of rejection,' are also sharply perceptive, rooting this very much in the real world. Crosley has found the perfect fictional subject for her gimlet eye.
Crosley is nothing if not ambitious here, interrogating contemporary wellness culture and the very nature of love as Lola confronts a gauntlet of ghosts from her romantic past ... Crosley has created the ideal protagonist/narrator for navigating this low-key–SF but very real world. Lola is skeptical and prickly while also being vulnerable—a wiseass with a heart. The story is plenty engaging, but it’s Crosley’s analytical acumen and gift for the striking metaphor that really gives the book life. Thoughtfully and humanely acerbic.