Rainey Royal October 01 2014, 0 Comments

"Dylan Landis’s captivating and unnerving novel “Rainey Royal,” set in Manhattan of the 1970s and early ’80s, is not a thriller, but it smolders with these loaded questions: How far will an adolescent girl go to gain a sense of belonging; and how can her unaimed sexual power put others, and herself, at risk? Reading this book, following its characters along a shaky tightrope that stretches between vulnerability and cruelty, confidence and catastrophe, you may thank heaven, or St. Catherine of Bologna — Rainey’s chosen protectress, the patron saint of artists — that you are not a teenage girl. That is, of course, unless you are one; in which case you can take heart in the author’s intimation that this perilous transit can be achieved with something that ends up feeling, in a small way, like grace."
Liesl Schillinger, New York Times

I like to quote reviews that put their fingers on the very delicate pulse that beats within a book and Liesl Schillinger gets to the heart of things when she speaks of a "captivating and unnerving novel", "a shaky tightrope that stretches between vulnerability and cruelty, confidence and catastrophe".

This book was everything that I wanted Salinger to be: reckless, direct, brave, unapologetic, unadorned, psychologically naked, elegant without being affected, smart without being pretentious, fiery without being theatrical.

A penetrating and heartrending portrait of an adolescent girl, caught between her need for innocence and her hunger for self-affirmation. Greenwich Village in the 70's, a personal romanticized obsession of mine, is depicted with a quiet and subdued fierceness very much akin to Rachel Kushner's in "The Flamethrowers".

A struggle, an ascent, a shedding of skin and a rebirth that will stay with you for a very long time.