Med school dropout Lena is desperate for a job, any job, to help her parents, who are approaching bankruptcy after her father was injured and laid off nearly simultaneously. So, when she is offered a position, against all odds, working for one of Boston's most elite families, the illustrious and secretive Verdeaus, she knows she must accept it--no matter how bizarre the interview or how vague the job description.
Mayquist embraces the gothic genre with delicious glee, peeling back a shimmery overlay of glamour to expose the rot beneath. With Tripping Arcadia, he has crafted a tale that thrums with eat-the-rich vibes and the exhilarating prospect of a have-not prevailing over the have-everythings. Its reckoning with the state of work in a capitalist society will energize readers, and they’ll be rooting for the flawed yet captivating Lena through every creative twist and dark detail.
In this evocative depiction of a dangerously seductive world, awash in gothic overtones, Mayquist tweaks class tensions as he portrays Lena’s growing desperation for control. Will she be the Verdeau heir’s long-awaited rescuer or an unwitting participant in further degradation?
... this lush and dark debut satisfyingly pulls back and then spirals à la Wuthering Heights or The Great Gatsby ... Lena is sympathetic, and her admission of guilt from the outset increases the tension and pacing of this detail-rich story. Readers will cringe when she makes poor choices but they’ll also be glued to the page as this salacious tale of family drama, corporate dealings, dangerous secrets, and poison unfolds ... A 21st-century Gothic with a fascinating botanical frame and an escalating sense of dread.