A dreamy and adrenaline-fueled new novel from a two-time Granta Best Young Novelist
Lurid & Cute is a kind of machine for the reader's corruption. It opens with all the things we've come to expect of Adam Thirlwell-"the playfulness of language, the way the mandarin wit, line by line, consorts with grisly or louche material," as Jeffrey Eugenides has said-when the narrator wakes confused in a seedy hotel room. He has had the good education, and also the good job. Together with his wife and dog, he lives at home with his parents. But then the lurid overtakes him-a chain of events that feels to those inside it narcotic and neurotic, like one long and terrible descent: complete with lies, deceit, and chicanery, and including, in escalating order, one orgy, one brothel, and a series of firearms disputes.
Lurid & Cute balances the complexity of an interior world-our hero's apparently innocent obsessions with food, old movies, and all the gaudy, shoddy building blocks of pop culture-with a picaresque plot delivered with expert, insidious pacing. For very possibly this is the story of a woebegone and global generation. And our hero, the sweetest narrator in world literature, also may well be the most fearsome.
It's the most sophisticated and gruesome novel from an author celebrated for his precocious talents, and it will leave you feeling like you've been on one hell of a bender.