“Imagine this scene, roughly a decade ago: Victor standing, intoxicated, outside her [bedroom] window, after one of several holiday formals… It was just before Christmas break and he could see his breath. He kicked plastic cups and glitter – the fun-torn earth – and threw handfuls of gravel at Kezia’s window.
‘What are you doing?’ she asked from where she stood. Which was next to him, side-by-side on the concrete path, arms crossed.
‘Trying to get you to come to the window so you can tell me you love me.’
‘I’m right here.’
‘Yeah I’m aware of that’…
‘You’re being dramatic.’
‘I’m being real.’
‘You’re like a girl.’
‘You’re like a girl.’
‘I am a girl.’
‘Ah,’ he waved his finger, ‘but not yet a woman.’ – The Clasp, Sloane Crosley
You might know Sloane Crosley. She’s the former book publicist – once called the most popular women in New York – turned essayist (her collected works I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number are bestsellers) and now novelist. This is her first work of fiction, and it’s delicious: sharp as a tack, biting, with an ease and effortless to the way it is put together. It’s a sassy book for clever girls and I couldn’t get enough of it.
It’s a hard one to describe, because it’s many things. It’s the story of a love triangle, and three friends from university who are slowly drifting apart. It’s also about a set of stolen jewels, and a cross-country quest to get them back. It’s also, simply, a meditation on getting older, and that no-mans-land between hopes and dreams and reality: the space where most of us live.
There are three main characters: privileged, beautiful Kezia, mopy, dejected Victor and self-obsessed Nathaniel, and you end up in love with all three of them by the end of the book. I have a soft spot for poor Victor, who gets rather the rough end of the stick in the novel, but who never stops loving Kezia, never. We’ve all got a bit of Victor in us, I think – just like we’ve all dated Nathanial, and we’ve all got a friend like Kezia. The beauty of this book is that it never feels out of reach. It’s New York and yet not New York, it’s Miami and yet not Miami, it’s Paris and yet not Paris. One thing it is: utterly enjoyable.