Lilian Quick is 40, single, and childless, working as a pet portrait artist. She paints the colored light only she can see, but animal aura portraits are a niche market at best. She's working hard to build her brand on social media and struggling to pay the rent. This satire asks us: How do we recognize authenticity when storytelling and magic have been co-opted by marketing?
The literary equivalent of zooming out from the perfectly lit avocado toast sitting on a charming window sill to the dank, cramped apartment that your favourite lifestyle blogger actually lives in ... Selecky’s work is smart and subtle. But there were areas I wanted more, for instance, a deeper read into how Lillian’s ideas around self-actualization were changing — the character seemed a little too uncritical to be believable. But maybe that’s the point, that it’s sometimes easier to skim the surface of your real problems while doing a deep dive in your Insta feed.
Biting, tragicomic ... Selecky’s deadpan tone, punchy writing, and vivid characters transport readers to a specific, highly diverting world that hits close to the bone and sparks the self-reflection it’s spoofing.