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The Guest by Emma Cline - Review

Friday, January 13, 2023

I was provided with an electronic copy of The Guest for review purposes, so thank you to Vintage books for that. I was not otherwise compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. The Guest will be published on 23rd May 2023. 

I requested this book because I was intrigued by the premise. I've never read The Girls by Emma Cline but I know people who raved over it so maybe one day I should get to it. I liked the style of this - it's deeply unsettling and the heat of the book really adds to the claustrophic feel. There's almost a gothic feel to the book, which I really liked. I was reading it in the middle of winter but could so imagine myself in the book.

So the unlike heroine of the book is Alex. She's twenty-three or so, and is running from previous demons in New York City. She has pissed off her roommates so much that she had to leave all her things behind in the apartment, and she's also avoiding calls from a man who she stole many thousands of dollars from. She has been working as an escort, and that's how she met Simon. He's fifty something and she's been with him for a few months, and he asked her to go to the Hamptons with him for the summer. She's been there ever since - it's nearly Labor Day - swimming in his pool, going to the beach, and feeling in the way of Simon's housekeeper. 

However, at a party six or so days before Labor Day, Alex makes a misstep at a dinner party and ends up in the pool, going after her phone. It is broken, full of water. Simon dismisses her from his life, telling his housekeeper to take her to the station and pay for a ticket back to the city. Alex doesn't leave, though. She is determined that if she can just make it to Simon's Labor Day party, she can make her way back into his life, back into the cushiness she's grown used to. I honestly can't blame her here - it sounds like she's had a rough go of it previously and while she is a grifter, I couldn't entirely blame her. She was doing what she needed to to get by.

She first of all gets in with a group of similarly aged young people, and stays in the Airbnb they've rented. Then she gets rumbled when she gets off with someone's boyfriend, and has to leave. She spends one night sleeping in the woods with only her bag as a pillow, and then she meets some kids she's met previously and ends up staying with one of them. Everything goes completely wrong. I read this just before Christmas and it was perfect because it was compelling and distracting, which I like when I'm so busy. I'm giving this four out of five. 

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