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By Jennifer Egan

Before everything of this edgy and ambitiously multilayered novel, a way version named Charlotte Swenson emerges from a vehicle coincidence in her Illinois homeland together with her face so badly shattered that it takes 80 titanium screws to reassemble it. She returns to long island nonetheless appealing yet oddly unrecognizable, a digital stranger on the earth she as soon as easily occupied.

With the surreal authority of a David Lynch, Jennifer Egan threads Charlotte’s narrative with these of alternative casualties of our infatuation with the picture. There’s a deceptively undeniable teenaged woman embarking on a perilous mystery lifestyles, an alcoholic inner most eye, and an enigmatic stranger who alterations names and accents as he prepares an apocalyptic blow opposed to American society. As those narratives inexorably converge, Look at Me turns into a coolly captivating highbrow mystery of identification and imposture.

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Hansen, my fiancé, were a fan of brandy, so I saved a bottle round within the assumption that it was once a kind of issues males cherished. For all of the males who had under the influence of alcohol my brandy when you consider that Hansen, it used to be his reminiscence I nonetheless consulted whilst i needed to understand whatever approximately males usually. not anyone might were extra stunned through his archetypal prestige in my innovations than Hansen himself. We hadn’t spoken in additional than a decade. I drank, gazing the telephone in a emerging country of concern. eventually, emboldened via the drenching warmth in my chest, I known as Oscar back, this time opting for myself as Sasha Lewis of the recent York publish. He was once at the line in 3 seconds—I counted. “Fuck you,” I greeted him. “Pardonnez-moi? ” “You’re taking calls from the hot York submit, but if it’s your oldest buyer you’re in a gathering? ” “That was once underneath you, Charlotte. ” “What the hell is occurring over there? I haven’t heard a—” My drunken belligerence shocked even me. “If you need a enterprise conversation,” Oscar stated coldly, “call me in a businesslike type. ” “I have called—and what approximately? —I advised you—” “Beep,” he reduce me off. “That was once my aggravation meter. You’re getting into a hazard region. ” I slammed down the telephone, then sat limply at the sofa, surprised via my brilliant demonstrate of desperation. I opened my tackle ebook and looked for a person to name. I went via it web page by way of web page: different types, wealthy males in numerous components of the area; consumers I’d labored for usually through the years. yet their calls to me had started petering out, and the strength it will require to reel them again into my existence felt herculean. Hansen was once nonetheless lower than “H”; I’d transferred him from ebook to ebook through the years so he regularly regarded present, even though definitely via now the data used to be out of date. or perhaps no longer; might be you didn’t stream, as soon as you’d settled with a spouse and youngsters in a home outdoor Seattle you’d designed your self. Why could you? My eye fell on a tiny Post-it that I’d additional to the H’s: the detective, Anthony Halliday. He had referred to as me back, precisely whilst he’d promised, yet I had shunned calling him again. i needed no a part of his look for Z. but the attract of calling someone who actively needed to talk with me used to be too effective to withstand. “It’s Charlotte Swenson,” I stated, while he spoke back. “I’m again in long island. ” He sounded happy, and instructed paying me a trip. I imagined this: a personal detective inside of my residence, taking a look at my issues. “I’d particularly come to you,” I stated. “When? ” he requested. “Now? this present day? ” And the passion in his voice used to be so welcome to my drunken ear, so sweetly beckoning, that it jumped the wall of my resistance, and that i agreed to come back instantly. sooner than leaving, I had one other huge glass of brandy and Pop-Tarts, which I saved round in huge numbers simply because they have been more uncomplicated to make than pie and that i thought of them dietetic. I wrapped myself in my lengthy alpaca coat and rode down within the elevator. It was once 10:30 A. M. and that i used to be highly under the influence of alcohol, choked with pleasure and goal and mischief. My basically remorse used to be over all of the days of my existence I’d spent sober.

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