If you relish a big-city love story that has been subverted enough to avoid cliché but that still achieves sensitivity and relatability, then you will want to get your hands on a copy of March's selection quick smart!
Cleopatra and Frankenstein is a debut by Coco Mellors, a writer from London and New York. Her novel begins with a 'meet-cute' outside of a New Year's Eve party between Cleo, a 24-year-old British artist whose student visa is about to expire, and Frank, a fortysomething ad agency exec and Peter Pan type. We know, New Year's Eve, the older man, the younger woman, but we promised no clichés! Theirs is a romance defined by hedonism, ferocity and tumult. As chapters pass, we see how the relationship changes both their lives, and the lives of those close to them.
In between the pages on falling in love (quickly) and making decisions (impulsively), the novel explores what it means to be an artist, what it feels like to date one, privilege, addiction, mental illness, self-destruction and self-actualisation, narcissism, beauty and growing up (finally). It's witty, wise, perceptive and messy as hell, but then so is real life.
Oh and Mellors can write! Her command of voice and dialogue is especially adept - distinct, playful and sophisticated. There are some downright perfect sentences in this book (have your pencil ready) and some genuinely hilarious ones too (particularly in Eleanor's chapters, oh how we loved Eleanor).
The perfect balance of heartbreak, humour and humanity, we hope you enjoy this most impressive debut.