When this book begins, Elsa is about two inches from rock bottom and she just keeps descending, aided by a potent mixture of pills, booze, and regrettable decisions. She's lost her job and her lover in one fell swoop, and she's just beginning to realize what a pitiful weapon her beauty is. Throw in the aforementioned chemical distractions and a trip to Catalina Island with a motley crew of college friends, an ex-husband, and a half-sexy, half-creepy rich guy, and you've got one hell of a read. Liska Jacobs's raw talent elevates this story of self-annihilation, never letting it veer into maudlin territory, but keeping it firmly on track for true pathos. Now that I've finished reading it, I find myself unable to concentrate on other books — Catalina cauterized me. Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A magnetic, provocative debut novel chronicling a young woman s downward spiral following the end of an affair
Elsa Fisher is headed for rock bottom. At least, that s her plan. She has just been fired from MoMA on the heels of an affair with her married boss, and she retreats to Los Angeles to blow her severance package on whatever it takes to numb the pain. Her abandoned crew of college friends (childhood friend Charlotte and her wayward husband, Jared; and Elsa s ex-husband, Robby) receive her with open arms, and, thinking she s on vacation, a plan to celebrate their reunion on a booze-soaked sailing trip to Catalina Island.
But Elsa doesn t want to celebrate. She is lost, lonely, and full of rage, and only wants to sink as low as the drugs and alcohol will take her. On Catalina, her determined unraveling and recklessness expose painful memories and dark desires, putting everyone in the group at risk.
With the creeping menace of Patricia Highsmith and the bender-chic of Bret Easton Ellis, Liska Jacobs brings you inside the mind of an angry, reckless young woman hell-bent on destruction every page taut with the knowledge that Elsa s path does not lead to a happy place. Catalina is a compulsive, deliciously dark exploration of beauty, love, and friendship, and the sometimes toxic desires that drive us.