Enid considers her selfhood a devious performance. She controls how she is perceived in all social situations, from making small talk with her estranged half sisters or telling her depressed mother fun facts about outer space to revealing nothing to the women she dates—but she cannot control how she sees herself. Finally, as a routine fling intensifies and Enid’s paranoia insists she’s being stalked, she must decide: who does she think she is? Immersive, witty, offbeat, thoughtful, and ultimately generous, this novel constructs an irresistible universe around Enid’s character. It is a delight to read.
Lacey's novel is a genre-defying chameleon—a powerhouse of labyrinthine plot, complex characters, and unique worldbuilding that will appeal to all readers, regardless of literary taste. It begins with the death of “X” — a tortured genius whose life is shrouded in mysteries—and unfolds as X’s widow reconstructs her late wife’s forbidden history, which also takes us through a US divided into theocratic and secular territories and teeming with its own dark secrets. From recording with David Bowie to attempting treason, the truth of X' s life comes to light, as does the depth of her immense cruelty. Offering the thrill of a mystery, the thoughtfulness of literary fiction, and the meticulousness of nonfiction, this is a book not to be missed.
Beautifully at home in language, Akbar communicates a boundless warmth and intimacy through his poetry, even as he faces his pain: dissecting imperialism, racism and Islamophobia, addiction recovery, and the struggle for a path to goodness in the life we’re given. With his spiritual awareness, formal experimentation, and talent for line breaks, Akbar instantly became one of my favorite poets, and I highly recommend reading Pilgrim Bell with his debut novel Martyr! as the poetry and prose illuminate each other in beautiful and surprising ways.