Soulmates, by Jessica Grose, the editor of Lenny – an email newsletter from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner – is a strange, dark thriller/comedy that captures the terrifying feelings of loneliness and distance from loved ones. A sharply satirical novel that bridges between the criminal and mystical, protagonist Dana learns of her estranged husband’s death through a jarring article in the New York Post. Ethan, once a shabby wannabe writer who loved quiet nights in and takeout with his wife, fled domesticity years before to live with his blonde, fit new girlfriend at a yoga center in the Southwest. When the police begin calling Dana to inquire about Ethan’s history, she learns that perhaps his once-perceived accidental death is more than meets the eye.
An ambitious thriller that follows Dana’s very vivid recollections of her past with Ethan and her lonely days as she seeks answers to his tragic death, Grose captures readers with her consuming and easily palatable prose. However, the novel is too eager to remain lighthearted while diving into dark material and, at times, the story runs dry, becoming harder to follow and easier to lay the book down. I wanted to know what happens to Dana, what happened to Ethan; Grose compels readers forward but not with enough momentum and pace to make the novel truly enjoyable.
During a summer of popular cult stories, in particular the rising hype for Emma Cline’s The Girls, Grose adds to the mystical, magical power of community bonding with her experimental Nancy-Drew-esque novel. It’s a worthy attempt but lacks the engagement in character development and dialogue that would add it to the must-read shelf. A fun, quick read that will distract but not amaze.
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