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Oligarchy by Scarlett Thomas


Best Seller
Oligarchy by Scarlett Thomas
Paperback $16.95
Jan 12, 2021 | ISBN 9781640094628

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  • Jan 12, 2021 | ISBN 9781640094628

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  • Jan 14, 2020 | ISBN 9781640093065

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  • Jan 14, 2020 | ISBN 9781640093072

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“The privileged teenage girls in this dark comedy, attending a dysfunctional, third-string boarding school in the countryside north of London, get caught up in a mass-psychogenic, contagious version of anorexia nervosa. Thomas’s prose is fast-thinking, entertaining and punchy.” —The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

“One of the funniest novels in recent years . . . It takes a special kind of audacity to write a comic novel about teenagers with eating disorders, but Thomas executes it brilliantly . . . It’s Thomas’ boldness, as well as her writing-every sentence seems painstakingly constructed-that make Oligarchy such a remarkable novel. It’s brash, bizarre and original, an unflinching look at a group of young women who have become ‘hungry ghosts, flickering on the edge of this world.'” —Michael Schaub, NPR

“In this delicious Gothic set in a British boarding school, the daughter of a massively rich Russian finds herself menaced equally by Instagram, an anorexia epidemic, and a spectral ancestor whose haunting portraits seem to watch her every move.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

Oligarchy uses the familiar phenomena of adolescent copycatting and boarding-school insularity to cannily-and eerily-create a world that feels women-focused but proves to be the reverse . . . Steering [her] protagonists toward liberation, [Thomas] seem[s] to suggest that an honest reckoning with misogyny might produce not only solidarity, but also change.” —Lily Meyer, The Atlantic

“Scarlett Thomas, a British writer who excels at delivering novels about difficult subjects, turns her brilliant, incisive gaze to a boarding school in Oligarchy . . . A strange but urgent glimpse into society’s often conflicting expectations of girls.” —Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post

“Thomas has a perfectly pitched ear for human cruelty and self-delusion—one man has ‘the eyes of a lifeguard who lets people drown’—and all the wild tortures young girls subject themselves to just to feel pretty in the world.” —Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

Oligarchy is dark and gothic and hilarious and so sharp on the sentence level I can feel my mind waking up when I read it. It’s set at an English boarding school, where a group of adolescent girls take on anorexia as a sort of group project (groomed in this, we will learn, by sinister forces) . . . It’s pure aesthetic pleasure to live in these pages too, because Thomas allows these girls their full intelligence . . . There’s a piercing clarity to the vision here. It’s the kind of seeing that only art makes possible.” —Clare Beams, Bustle

“This is a weird, twisty book, and anyone familiar with Thomas’ oeuvre will expect the kind of dark humor that is only possible from a writer of profound compassion. Strong stuff. Another strange delight from one of the United Kingdom’s most interesting authors.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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