One of our recommended books for 1029 is The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora

THE PAPER WASP


An electrifying debut novel from the acclaimed author of The Wonder Garden, The Paper Wasp is a riveting knife-edge story of two women’s dark friendship of twisted ambition set against the backdrop of contemporary Hollywood.

In small-town Michigan, Abby Graven leads a solitary life. Once a bright student on the cusp of a promising art career, she now languishes in her childhood home, trudging to and from her job as a supermarket cashier. Each day she is taunted from the magazine racks by the success of her former best friend Elise, a rising Hollywood starlet whose life in pictures Abby obsessively scrapbooks. 

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An electrifying debut novel from the acclaimed author of The Wonder Garden, The Paper Wasp is a riveting knife-edge story of two women’s dark friendship of twisted ambition set against the backdrop of contemporary Hollywood.

In small-town Michigan, Abby Graven leads a solitary life. Once a bright student on the cusp of a promising art career, she now languishes in her childhood home, trudging to and from her job as a supermarket cashier. Each day she is taunted from the magazine racks by the success of her former best friend Elise, a rising Hollywood starlet whose life in pictures Abby obsessively scrapbooks. At night Abby escapes through the films of her favorite director, Auguste Perren, a cult figure known for his creative institute the Rhizome. Inspired by Perren, Abby draws fantastical storyboards based on her often premonitory dreams, a visionary gift she keeps hidden.

When Abby encounters Elise again at their high school reunion, she is surprised and warmed that Elise still considers her not only a friend but a brilliant storyteller and true artist. Elise’s unexpected faith in Abby reignites in her a dormant hunger, and when Elise offhandedly tells Abby to look her up if she’s ever in LA, Abby soon arrives on her doorstep. There, Abby discovers that although Elise is flourishing professionally, behind her glossy magazine veneer she is lonely and disillusioned. Ever the supportive friend, Abby becomes enmeshed in Elise’s world, even as she guards her own dark secret and burning desire for greatness. As she edges closer to Elise, the Rhizome, and her own artistic ambitions, the dynamic shifts between the two friends—until Abby can see only one way to grasp the future that awaits her.

The Paper Wasp is a thrilling, unexpected journey into the psyche and imagination of a woman determined to fulfill her destiny from one of our most unique and incisive writers.

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  • Grove Atlantic
  • Hardcover
  • June 2019
  • 304 Pages
  • 9780802129413

Buy the Book

$26.00

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About Lauren Acampora

Lauren Acampora is the author of The Paper Wasp, credit Sarah LandisLauren Acampora is the author of the novel The Paper Wasp. Her story collection, The Wonder Garden, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers and Indie Next selection, and named a best book of the year by Amazon and NPR.

Praise

Named a Best Summer Read by the New York Times, O Magazine, Elle, Town & Country, Tatler, Thrillist, BBC.com, Literary Hub, and Publishers Weekly.

One of USA Today’s “5 books not to miss”

“Take The Talented Mr. Ripley, cross it with Suspiria, add a dash of La La Land and mix it all at midnight and this arty psychological stalker novel is what might result.” New York Times Book Review

“A hypnotic tale of codependence that skewers our fascination with gossip and fame.” O Magazine, “The Best Books by Women of Summer 2019”

The Paper Wasp fixes its gaze on one magnetic and increasingly twisted friendship… hypnotic and sensual… Acampora’s prose has a seductive, pearlescent allure.” TIME Magazine

“Acampora’s kaleidoscopic narrative shifts fluidly from Abby’s strange, shimmering images to Elise’s descent into tabloid erasure, artfully tracking the unexpected power shift between them.”—BBC.com

“Gripping… likely to buzz its way into many beach bags this summer.” Irish Times

“A thrilling tale of a twisted friendship, obsession and ambition… an unsettling, compelling read.” Tatler

“Landing somewhere in between Marisha Pessl’s Night Film and You by Caroline Kepnes, The Paper Wasp aims to disturb while it enraptures.” Open Letters Review

“Readers will enjoy reading this story of dark friendship set against the ‘flash of Hollywood.’”—Boston.com

“This is the Los Angeles of weird cults and day-drunk stars, of struggling documentary filmmakers and mysterious but powerful directors… Utterly bizarre and completely bewitching, this twisted, delicious tale will grab you from the first page and hurl you over the edge.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Acampora’s linked short story collection, The Wonder Garden, electrified literary critics, and this deeply disturbing, wildly inventive, and completely unpredictable debut novel is sure to do the same. Abby and Elise will be haunting readers’ dreams long after the last page.” Library Journal (starred review)

“An unsettling and surreal excavation of the boundless depths of the human psyche… Acampora’s writing is gorgeous and renders with precision and clarity the spiral of Abby’s increasingly disorienting world of obsession and hallucinatory imagery. The result is a piercing, disquieting novel.” Publishers Weekly