Nada Alic’s women—the perverts, nobodies, reality TV stars, poetic hopefuls, shameless party girls, and self-help addicts of Los Angeles and its environs—are all wrestling with a shared stark reality: the modern world. To cope, they live in their baddest thoughts: the lush, strange landscape of female make-believe.
In “Earth to Lydia,” a support group meets to enjoy earthly pleasures after achieving “too much enlightenment,” engaging in bizarre exercises that escalate to a point of violence and fear. The narrator of “Ghost Baby”—the spirit of a proto-child assigned to a couple whose chemistry is waning—writhes in disembodied frustration as its parents fail to conceive it. In “Daddy’s Girl,” the daughter of Eastern European immigrants tries to connect to her distant and difficult father through the invention of increasingly elaborate home maintenance repairs. And in “The Intruder,” a lonely woman’s break-in fantasy quickly builds to a full-blown obsession, until she finds an unwitting partner with whom to act it out.
Though each of Alic’s characters thrive and ache in different circumstances, they all grapple with the most painful equations of modern life: love, trust, power, loneliness, desire, violation, and vengeance. And she conjures them all with a voice that is instantly arresting, unexpectedly hilarious, and absolutely unforgettable.
A VINTAGE ORIGINAL