A young woman pretends to be someone she isn’t in this stunning novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls.
“Alex drained her wineglass, then her water glass. The ocean looked calm, a black darker than the sky. A ripple of anxiety made her palms go damp. It seemed suddenly very tenuous to believe that anything would stay hidden, that she could successfully pass from one world to another.”
Summer is coming to a close on the East End of Long Island, and Alex is no longer welcome.
A misstep at a dinner party, and the older man she’s been staying with dismisses her with a ride to the train station and a ticket back to the city.
With few resources and a waterlogged phone, but gifted with an ability to navigate the desires of others, Alex stays on Long Island and drifts like a ghost through the hedged lanes, gated driveways, and sun-blasted dunes of a rarefied world that is, at first, closed to her. Propelled by desperation and a mutable sense of morality, she spends the week leading up to Labor Day moving from one place to the next, a cipher leaving destruction in her wake.
Taut, propulsive, and impossible to look away from, Emma Cline’s The Guest is a spellbinding literary achievement.
About the Author
Emma Cline is the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls and the story collection Daddy. The Girls was a finalist for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and was the winner of the Shirley Jackson Award. Cline's stories have been published in The New Yorker, Granta, The Paris Review and The Best American Short Stories anthologies. She received an O’Henry Award and the Plimpton Prize from The Paris Review, and was chosen as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists.
“A grifter tale for the post Anna Delvey era, a spellbinding literary rendering told from the perspective of the deceiver herself . . . Cline is a master of depicting the nefarious and atmospheric menace that often lurks adjacent to our most glittery environments, and she does so here with subdued but no less cutting aplomb.” —Vogue
“Cline quietly continues to be one of the best and most discomfiting young writers working today.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Eerily captivating.” —Elle
“Emma Cline’s second novel is tense and restrained, as careful and controlled as the woman at its center—before she begins to unravel at the seams. This is a slow-motion car crash of a book: it’s extremely hard to look away.” —Lit Hub
“Her odyssey of desperation and misadventures feels like Barry Lyndon for Gen Z.” —Buzzfeed
“The sheer anxiety level of watching Alex lure each new stranger (from the help to lonely rich teenagers), filling the endless hours until the next morning, will keep your blood pressure as high as if you were following a serial killer stalking their next victim.” —Paste
“I loved every moment of The Guest: the intensity, the control, the atmosphere, the psychological escalation, the astonishing social observation, the profound and devastating visions of the void achieved with flicks of the wrist, the way it lets nobody off the hook and yet is not without deep humanity.” —Sam Lipsyte
“The talented Ms. Cline, as it were! Her prose is drifty and wire-taut, easy on the eye, with an awful undertow of unease that never lets up. The pathology brilliantly observed by The Guest would not feel so edgy if it were not perilously close to an aspirational ideal.” —Geoff Dyer
Praise for Emma Cline
“Brilliant . . . [Emma] Cline is an astonishingly gifted stylist.”—The New York Times
“Masterful.”—New York magazine
“Extraordinary . . . Debut novels like this are rare, indeed.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“On every other page, it seems, there is something remarkable.”—James Wood, The New Yorker
“A thrilling new voice in American fiction.”—Jennifer Egan
“A striking achievement, the assured work of a young writer with talent to burn.”—The Boston Globe
“Cline’s writing is an addictive treat . . . a propulsive read starring an irresistible antihero.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The payoffs are as gratifying as they are shattering.”—Publishers Weekly