- Post by Molly Odintz
Megan Abbott is one of the most versatile and creative crime novelists writing today. Her first four novels, Die a Little, The Song is You, Queenpin, and Bury Me Deep use historical settings and noir style to explore female narratives – in particular, the tension between female community and competition.
Her next three novels continue to explore these themes in a modern setting with young adult characters. The End of Everything, Dare Me and The Fever all tackle the the murky waters of adolescence, with characters trapped in the space between victim, perpetrator and witness. Abbott’s novels are mature, daring, intelligent and unique. If you love her work as much as we do, here are a few recommendations we think you’ll enjoy!
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
I recommend this one for fans of Megan Abbott’s last few books. Knoll’s protagonist, Ani FaNelli, is a successful sex columnist at a popular women’s magazine, obsessed with achieving high social status. She is manipulative and condescending to her underlings, and valued by her boss for her brutal efficiency and willingness to, well, prostitute her art. When her blue-blooded fiance attempts to curtail her participation in a documentary about a childhood incident, Ani rebels, seeking closure for childhood traumas so tremendous that much of the book is a slow reveal of the pain in Ani’s past. Shocking, playful, daring, and devastating – Luckiest Girl Alive has it all! You can find copies of Luckiest Girl Alive on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
For those who enjoy the contrast in Abbott’s historical noir between repression and steamy sensuality. Eileen takes place in small-town America in the early 60s. An unlikeable young woman, working at the local juvenile prison and caring for her drunk father, gets a chance to reevaluate her life when a glamorous co-worker inspires her to question and break free of her stifling context. This book is full of powerful and sometimes disgusting imagery. I recommend it to those who like their female protagonists twisted and complex. You can find copies of Eileen on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Innocence, or, Murder on Steep Street by Heda Margolius-Kovály, translated by Alex Zucker
Although Margolius-Kovály’s only novel was published in English for the first time this year, dissident writer and translator Kovály wrote Innocence decades ago, preferring to delay its publication to ensure the safety of her friends back in Prague. Innocence follows several women through the stultifying atmosphere of 1950s Prague as they help each other and hurt each other. The men are all dead, imprisoned, or occupiers, and each woman makes their own compromise with an inherently compromising situation. You can find copies of Innocence, or, Murder on Steep Street on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.