Looker: Book summary and reviews of Looker by Laura Sims

Looker

by Laura Sims

Looker by Laura Sims X
Looker by Laura Sims
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2019
    192 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A dazzling, razor-sharp debut novel about a woman whose obsession with the beautiful actress on her block drives her to the edge.

I've never crossed their little fenced-in garden, of course. I stand on the sidewalk in front of the fern-and-ivy-filled planter that hangs from the fence - placed there as a sort of screen, I'm sure - and have a direct line of view into the kitchen at night. I'm grateful they've never thought to install blinds. That's how confident they are. No one would dare stand in front of our house and watch us, they think. And they're probably right: except for me.

In this taut and thrilling debut, an unraveling woman, unhappily childless and recently separated, becomes fixated on her neighbor - the beautiful, famous actress. The unnamed narrator can't help noticing with wry irony that, though she and the actress live just a few doors apart, they are separated by a chasm of professional success and personal fulfillment. The actress, a celebrity with her face on the side of every bus, shares a gleaming brownstone with her handsome husband and their three adorable children, while the narrator, working in a dead-end job, lives in a run-down, three-story walk-up with her ex-husband's cat.

When an interaction with the actress at the annual block party takes a disastrous turn, what began as an innocent preoccupation spirals quickly, and lethally, into a frightening and irretrievable madness. Darkly witty and searingly sharp, Looker is enormously entertaining - part tightly coiled Hitchcockian thriller and part send-up of life in the Instagram-ready city. Driven by a fresh and fearlessly original voice, this slender novel packs a powerful punch.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. In this tightly plotted novel, Sims takes the reader fully into the mind of a woman becoming increasingly unhinged, and turns her emotionally fraught journey into a provocative tale about the dangers of coveting what belongs to another." - Publishers Weekly

"That this novel gallops along at top speed doesn't disguise the overly familiar scenery going by along the way." - Kirkus

"Sims's debut is a breathless and unrelenting portrait of one woman's unraveling." - Greer Hendricks, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Wife Between Us

"A perfect, dark pleasure...propelled by a woman whose obsession with a famous actress spurs one irredeemable trespass after another. A rare debut filled with gorgeous sentences, savory twists, and shot through with ferocious truths, this is the kind of book that can only be written by an author who is thrillingly unafraid." - Mona Awad, author of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

"With an agile precision reminiscent of Lydia Davis, Laura Sims captures the obsessiveness of a woman who unravels after the collapse of her marriage. A taut, gripping portrait, all the more sinister for its elegance." - Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks

"Like Polanski's Repulsion, Laura Sims's intense, gripping first novel shoehorns us into a gathering sense of dread, heightened at every turn by our sympathy for her relentlessly unraveling protagonist. The precise, observant writing slips through the skin without ever calling attention to itself." - Peter Straub, author of A Dark Matter and Interior Darkness

"A tightly coiled novel about the poison of resentment. With arresting candor, Laura Sims reveals how fatally it can destroy one's relationship to the world." - Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew

"This riveting cautionary tale chronicles the catastrophic downward spiral of a woman whose situation exposes the fragility of human happiness. In language as piercing as the story itself, Sims offers an intense portrait of obsession. Looker is the work of a fierce and fearless writer." - Helen Phillips, author of The Beautiful Bureaucrat

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Author Information

Laura Sims

Laura Sims is the author of Looker, a novel; four books of poetry, most recently Staying Alive; and the editor of Fare Forward: Letters from David Markson. She lives outside of New York City with her family.

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