Publication Date: 21/04/2022 ISBN: 9780241502815 Category:

The Odyssey

Lara Williams

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication Date: 21/04/2022 ISBN: 9780241502815 Category:
Paperback / Softback


Out of stock


From the prize-winning author of Supper Club comes a wickedly funny and slyly poignant new satire on modern life – for fans of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Convenience Store Woman, and J. G. Ballard’s High Rise

‘Far from normal’ The Times

‘This book is a serious vibe’ Cosmopolitan

‘Lara Williams is the queen of smart modern satire. I could read her all day’ Emma Jane Unsworth

Meet Ingrid. She works on a gargantuan luxury cruise liner, where she spends her days reorganizing the merchandise and waiting for long-term guests to drop dead in the changing rooms. On her days off, she disembarks from the ship and gets blind drunk on whatever the local alcohol is. It’s not a bad life. And it distracts her from thinking about the other life she left behind five years ago.

Until one day she is selected for the employee mentorship scheme – an initiative run by the ship’s mysterious captain and self-anointed lifestyle guru, Keith, who pushes Ingrid further than she thought possible. But sooner or later, she will have to ask herself: how far is too far?

Utterly original, mischievous and thought-provoking, The Odyssey is a merciless takedown of consumer capitalism and our anxious, ill-fated quests for something to believe in. And as its title suggests, it is a voyage that will eventually lead its unlikely heroine all the way home. Though she’d do almost anything to avoid getting there…

Publisher Review

Lara Williams is the queen of smart modern satire. Sharp and evocative, funny and dark, The Odyssey captures the joy and the weirdness of work, travel, ambition, and being a human woman who wants things. I could read her all day -- Emma Jane Unsworth, author of 'Adults' Slyly humorous, sharp, courageous and at times devastating... The Odyssey is a wildly original satire about the struggle to forge human connection and the craving for some semblance of order when one's life has fallen apart. Startlingly unique and beautifully written -- Frances Cha, author of 'If I Had Your Face' Astonishing, subversive and darkly funny - The Odyssey is another dazzler of a novel from the bold and highly perceptive Lara Williams -- Zeba Talkhani, author of 'My Past is a Foreign Country' I have never read anything like this... Deliciously unpredictable, a testament to Lara Williams' fearlessness in diving into the absurd, cringeworthy, and downright uncomfortable aspects of life -- Mateo Askaripour, author of 'Black Buck' Perceptive, enigmatic and thought-provoking - I couldn't put it down. Wonderful! -- Amelia Horgan, author of 'Lost in Work' Lara Williams dissects Ingrid's character layer by layer, building the story through a series of tantalizing, frequently bizarre reveals that show exactly how this troubled woman ended up on a cruise ship that, like her, is falling apart. Readers who enjoy Melissa Broder and Ottessa Moshfegh will appreciate this surreal trip through a troubled woman's psyche * Booklist * I loved this surreal retelling of the Odyssey set in the pressure-cooker environment of a cruise ship, the ideal site for her gripping takedown of workplace culture. Unhinged guru-god-boss Keith is a chillingly accurate echo of managerial bullshit - beneath their standard issue tracksuits, his staff vibrate uncannily with repressed trauma and sexual frustration. Our 'hero' Ingrid's quest for self-improvement serves as a warning that however hard you try, finally, you cannot hide from yourself. The Odyssey is a darkly comic anti-bildungsroman that sends up the idea of 'professional development' and the profound alienation of the contemporary workplace -- Rebecca May Johnson, author of 'Small Fires' Slender and mysterious, The Odyssey is equal parts satire and elegy, coming from the very edge of the abyss... It is a book that demands of the reader just as much as it rewards them with. Williams is so good at calling attention to the dangerous borders of our day-to-day lives: the story of a lone woman's yearning [and] a universal warning against complacency. Unsettling, risk-taking, profoundly moving - I loved it -- Livia Franchini, author of 'Shelf Life' The Odyssey is destined to become a classic of avoidance literature. With terrific bite, Lara Williams disorients her protagonist and her readers. Dislocated by the interminable movement between grime and gloss, the sea and land, we all just might outwit what we most want to escape -- Amy Key, poet and author

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