• contact@blosguns.com
  • 680 E 47th St, California(CA), 90011

The Pursuit of Magnificence Fuels a Darkish Streak in Fiction

“We smile whereas our faces burn, we adore it so. As a result of we all know magic is occurring, identical to in a fairy story.” By the point Mirabelle Nour—the narrator of Mona Awad’s newest novel, Rouge (Marysue Rucci Books)—speaks this gauzy ode to exfoliation into the mirror, she is already in too deep. With acid-based toners, sure, however extra troublingly with a rogue spa, the identical one which wooed her late mom earlier than a sudden tumble off a California cliff. Set in a contemporary world of skincare tutorials and microcurrent gadgets, the ebook trades in age-old symbols: poison roses, an imagined prince within the guise of Prime Gun–period Tom Cruise, “fairest” outlined by racialized norms. This quest for eerily preserved magnificence unravels Belle’s reminiscence and language (she swaps madness for vainness, ridicule for ritual) earlier than the ebook reaches a vivid body-horror climax. Rouge has already been optioned for movie, proof that magnificence extremes have a sure subset gripped. “In any case,” says the spa’s Lady in Purple, “self-care is admittedly our solely escape from the Abyss, is it not?”

Anybody who has a passing familiarity with the phrase hyaluronic acid has heard some model of that message—the siren name of an oceanic magnificence and wellness trade. A stack of latest fiction digs into this nervousness, although whether or not such novels qualify as an escape is dependent upon how entwined a reader feels with this difficult slice of tradition.

Allie Rowbottom’s Aesthetica (Soho Press) was a perceptive entry final fall, prefiguring a wave of influencer regret. In it, Anna Wrey, at 19, disses her mom’s outdated feminism in favor of “my physique, my content material” digital empowerment. Now 35 (“I don’t hassle utilizing face recognition, it by no means works for me”), she has booked one remaining surgical procedure: a high-risk process that is sort of a manufacturing facility reset, undoing each final modification. The Glow (Random Home), Jessie Gaynor’s debut novel, facilities on a conspiring PR lady who transforms a small-scale healer right into a wellness machine, with the bitter style of monetized authenticity.

The promise of self-improvement is darkly seductive. In Ling Ling Huang’s Pure Magnificence (Dutton)—launched this spring and in improvement for a tv adaptation with Constance Wu coproducing—a former pianist working at a biotech-funded wellness retailer initially thrills at her routine’s results (outlined eyelids, opalescent pores and skin). By the top, her dismissal of inflexible aesthetics is what lingers: “That advantageous line between magnificence and ugliness, ripeness and decay, is what retains an viewers listening with held breath.”

‘Aesthetica’ by Allie Rowbottom

‘The Glow’ by Jessie Gaynor

‘Pure Magnificence’ by Ling Ling Huang