Social Creature remains distinct through its explicitly millennial perspective... [and] seems just too glamorous and magnetic to be true. [Burton's work] hammer[s] home the mirror it lifts toward our irresponsible obsession with status and effortless living.
[A] diabolical debut by Tara Isabella Burton ... she knows her way around good, evil and the eternally reader-friendly realm in between ... Social Creature is a wicked original with echoes of the greats (Patricia Highsmith, Gillian Flynn).
Sharp as a shard of broken mirror... a formidable burlesque by Tara Isabella Burton. Her obvious model is Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley [but] Burton's tale has a great deal to say about the very tangible conventions of our time. Its superb dialogue and cutting sense of humor help it glide irresistibly toward the unnerving moment when Louise has to decide whether to kill again.
This fast-paced, stylish, dialogue- and character-driven debut from journalist and scholar Burton will definitively ensnare readers. Diabolically playing on what we think we know about others and what we reveal about ourselves in the social-media age, it will give readers the creeps, too.
...spectacularly impressive ... 'Sometimes Louise considers going out with somebody new, but this seems like just another thing to potentially fuck up,' writes Burton, in her drily audacious prose ... A ridiculously assured first novel, told in an utterly original voice that doesn’t waver—even when it tackles body disposal.
Burton's novel is Patricia Highsmith-meets-Gossip Girl, a mashup of a long con and the demimonde. But this is simplifying Burton’s magic trick; she has taken our insatiable love of grifter stories... and twisted them into sparkling, high-flying prose and an timely allegory about female friendship that is so propulsive that I read the entire book in two days (I even took it with me into the bathtub, as my waterlogged copy can attest).
Fully half the novel is given over to Louise’s immersion in Lavinia’s extravagant, libertine life, and Burton does a brilliant job of depicting the toxic charm of such a world, the way its artifice erodes one’s sense of reality ... Social Creature forensically unpicks what it means to possess someone else’s phone: not just to be able to read their messages, but to speak with their voice, send them somewhere, spend their money, steal their soul ... For all the story’s modern trappings, there’s not much that’s truly original here. But Burton draws us in via her marvellous control of the material, the expert way she plays off Lavinia’s lavishness against Louise’s guile—and our own fascination with those wild Manhattan parties.
...a lurid thriller, Gossip Girl meets Gone Girl ... Social Creature takes the question of Lavinia’s perspective and makes it key to what happens after she is killed. Burton brilliantly deploys the distorted mirror-world of social media to ask how much we can rely on anyone’s perspective or account of their own lives.
Dark, stylish... Burton's exceptional character work further elevates the tale; every individual is both victim and villain, imbuing their interactions with oceans of emotional subtext and creating conflict that propels the book toward its shocking yet inevitale conclusion... At once a thrilling and provocative crime novel, a devastating exploration of female insecurity, and a scathing indictment of society's obsession with social media.
Fans of the cult classic Poison Ivy will appreciate the mousy girl-wild girl dynamic on display in Burton's fiendishly clever debut... An ingenious dark thrille rin the Patricia Highsmith Tom Ripley mode... This devious, satisfying novel perfectly captures a very narrow slice of the Manhattan demimonde.