A powerful novel of youth, desire, and moral conflict, in which a young man is seduced by the mirage of glamour—at a terrible cost
Arriving in New York City for an internship at an elite but fading magazine, Luca feels invisible: smart but not worldly, privileged but broke, and uncertain how to navigate a new era of social change. Among his peers is Zara, a young Black woman whose sharp wit and frank views on injustice create tensions in the office, especially in the wake of a shock election that’s irrevocably destabilized American life. In the months that follow, as the streets of New York fill with pink-hatted protesters and the magazine faces a changing of the guard, Luca is taken under the wing of an attractive and wealthy white couple—Paula, a prominent artist, and Jason, her filmmaker husband—whose lifestyle he finds both alien and alluring.
With the coming of summer, Luca is swept up in the fever dream of their marriage, accepting an invitation to join the couple and their children at their beach house, and nurturing an infatuation both frustrating and dangerous. Only after he learns of a spectacular tragedy in the city he has left behind does he begin to realize the moral consequences of his allegiances.
In language at once lyrical and incisive, Virtue offers a clear-eyed and unsettling story of the allure of privilege and the costs of complacency, from a writer of astonishing acuity and vision.