In Woman No. 17 Edan Lepucki, author of the dystopian debut California (on my to-read list), captures the hazy aura of summertime in Los Angeles. The plot revolves around Lady, a complicated mother of two sons, a teenager and a toddler, and S, the nanny she hires to take care of her toddler and live in the pool cottage behind her house. Lady is on a break from her husband and S, who fancies herself an artist, is determined to make some kind of mark on the world. Things get messy.
Though the back cover touts this book as a “sinister, sexy noir,” I just found it sadly tiresome. Lady and S are narcissists, emotionally damaged by their own mothers’ demons and inadequacies, and bent on disrupting whatever calm settles around them. While Lepucki is clearly a gifted writer and I’m looking forward to reading California, I was happy to leave this liquor-soaked, self-obsessed world of “posh” LA behind.