Los Angeles Times editor Lapidos’ literary prowess is evident in this brilliantly witty and humorous debut. The novel’s layers explore the dangers of interpretation and the varying perceptions of one’s, and others’, intentions, all of which come together to make a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Lapidos has created a funny, ironic, and witty first novel whose main character is a parody of every graduate student ever. Alternating between Anna and the contents of the Langley notebooks, the multilayered stories keep readers guessing, appealing to general fiction readers, especially those with any background in academia.
Snappy ... Anna’s voice is sharp and humorous, capturing the jaded graduate student’s mix of posturing, snark, and self-loathing, but Frederick isn’t as enigmatic as he’s intended to be, and his scheming niece Helen is insufficiently drawn, which weakens the pull of the literary mystery. However, the novel is redeemed by its intelligent musings on the responsibilities of literary culture: what do talented authors owe their readers and themselves?