Like a millennial Ignatius J. Reilly, Millie is brilliant, indolent, and chronically misanthropic. She wastes her days underperforming at a soulless temp job and loses her nights to fruitless plans for self-improvement. Not much happens in this nihilistic vortex of a novel, but it doesn’t even matter. It is incredibly enjoyable to lose oneself in Halle Butler’s vitriolic stream of consciousness as she rails against complacency, mindless consumption, and the impossibility and inadequacy of the American Dream, along with innumerable infuriating trivialities. She is an artist and her medium is spiteful dissatisfaction. The New Me is the seething satire we desperately need right now! Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
“Wretchedly riveting” (The New Yorker) and “masterfully cringe-inducing” (Chicago Tribune), The New Me is the must-read new novel by National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and Granta Best Young American novelist Halle Butler.
I’m still trying to make the dream possible: still might finish my cleaning project, still might sign up for that yoga class, still might, still might. I step into the shower and almost faint, an image of taking the day by the throat and bashing its head against the wall floating in my mind.
Thirty-year-old Millie just can’t pull it together. She spends her days working a thankless temp job and her nights alone in her apartment, fixating on all the ways she might change her situation — her job, her attitude, her appearance, her life. Then she watches TV until she falls asleep, and the cycle begins again.
When the possibility of a full-time job offer arises, it seems to bring the better life she’s envisioning within reach. But with it also comes the paralyzing realization, lurking just beneath the surface, of how hollow that vision has become.
“[Millie’s] rants would make Dostoyevsky’s Underground Man beam.” Stephanie Danler, The New York Times Book Review
“A brilliant excoriation of the marketers telling us that life offers an unending parade of do-overs. Butler nails the unspoken hierarchies of contemporary office life in this wry and utterly terrifying work.” Vulture
“A skewering of the 21st-century American dream of self-betterment. Butler has already proven herself a master of writing about work and its discontents.” The Millions
About the Author
Halle Butler is the author of Jillian. She has been named a National Book Award Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and a Granta Best Young American Novelist.