It doesn't take long for the students on Fielding campus to become obsessed with Hannah, Leslie and Jimmy. The three graduate students are mysterious, inaccessible, and brilliant. After Simone - young, bestselling author and erstwhile model - shows up as a visiting professor, and after everything that happened with her, the trio only becomes more notorious.
... a slow burn suspense story, made sharper and more immediate by its characters. They are all writers themselves, so the ways that they share stories, swap dialogue and describe events with one another are full of nuance and hidden meanings. Add to that the collegiate setting, and you get the perfect recipe for drama, yet the book is so much more than that. Zancan possesses a keen mind and a writing style that, while reminiscent of authors like Sally Rooney and Lauren Groff, is entirely her own. Every word is carefully selected, and even the most clichéd phrases are brandished expertly, revealing more about her characters than simple descriptions could alone ... a sharp critique of academia and the notion that one can 'teach' good writing. It is about not only stories, but storytellers, and what binds the two together while angling them apart.
Zancan weaves together an extraordinary story peopled by fascinating characters who are not easily forgotten. She explores the communal process of literary production and creates a palpable tension between creation and destruction that will keep readers engaged.
... inventive, addictive ... Zancan spends much of the first act wittily conveying the unique textures of a writing program, and convincingly shows the closeness that develops between Leslie, Hannah, and Jimmy ... Zancan excels at portraying the claustrophobia and competitiveness that can arise when someone is near others who share the same goals. This ambitious novel about love and revenge reads like a thriller, while asking probing questions about what it means to make art and how artists influence each other, for better or worse.