by Lara Williams
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 21 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 21 Apr 2022
From the prize-winning author of Supper Club comes a wickedly funny and slyly poignant new satire on modern life - for fans of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Convenience Store Woman, and J. G. Ballard's High Rise
'Far from normal' The Times
'This book is a serious vibe' Cosmopolitan
'Lara Williams is the queen of smart modern satire. I could read her all day' Emma Jane Unsworth
Meet Ingrid. She works on a gargantuan luxury cruise liner, where she spends her days reorganizing the merchandise and waiting for long-term guests to drop dead in the changing rooms. On her days off, she disembarks from the ship and gets blind drunk on whatever the local alcohol is. It's not a bad life. And it distracts her from thinking about the other life she left behind five years ago.
Until one day she is selected for the employee mentorship scheme - an initiative run by the ship's mysterious captain and self-anointed lifestyle guru, Keith, who pushes Ingrid further than she thought possible. But sooner or later, she will have to ask herself: how far is too far?
Utterly original, mischievous and thought-provoking, The Odyssey is a merciless takedown of consumer capitalism and our anxious, ill-fated quests for something to believe in. And as its title suggests, it is a voyage that will eventually lead its unlikely heroine all the way home. Though she'd do almost anything to avoid getting there...
‘Lara Williams is the queen of smart modern satire. Sharp and evocative, funny and dark, The Odyssey captures the joy and the weirdness of work, travel, ambition, and being a human woman who wants things. I could read her all day' Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Adults
'Tantalizing . . . Readers who enjoy Melissa Broder and Ottessa Moshfegh will appreciate this surreal trip through a troubled woman’s psyche' Booklist
'Utterly sharp, slyly humorous, and at times devastating in its courageous attempts to make sense of extreme loneliness ... The Odyssey is a wildly original dystopian satire about the desire and struggle to forge human connection and the craving for some semblance of progress and order when one’s life has fallen apart. Startlingly unique and beautifully written' Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face
‘Wonderful! Perceptive, enigmatic, smart and thought-provoking. Disquieting and exacting, I couldn't put it down’ Amelia Horgan, author of Lost in Work
‘Astonishing, subversive and darkly funny – The Odyssey is another dazzler of a novel from the bold and highly perceptive Lara Williams’ Zeba Talkhani, author of My Past is a Foreign Country
'Slender and mysterious, The Odyssey is equal parts satire and elegy, but above all, excitingly, it is a book that demands of the reader just as much as it rewards them with. Williams is so good at calling attention to the dangerous borders of our day-to-day lives: this book is just as much the story of a lone woman’s yearning as a universal warning against complacency, coming from the very edge of the abyss. It is unsettling and risk-taking and profoundly moving, and I loved it' Livia Franchini, author of Shelf Life
'The Odyssey is destined to become a classic of the avoidance genre. With terrific bite, Lara Williams disorients her protagonist and her readers. Dislocated by the interminable movement between grime and gloss, the sea and land, we all just might outwit what we most want to escape' Amy Key, poet and author of Isn't Forever
'I loved Lara Williams’s surreal retelling of the Odyssey set in the pressure-cooker environment of a cruise ship, the ideal site for her gripping takedown of workplace culture . . . '[The] Odyssey is a darkly comic anti-bildungsroman that sends up the idea of ‘professional development’ and the profound alienation of the contemporary workplace' Rebecca Johnson, food writer and academic
PRAISE FOR SUPPER CLUB
Selected in BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR - Vogue, TIME, Vulture, Woman and Home
'Subversive, radical, written with total glee and rollicking sense of unlimited possibility. Williams is one to watch' Stylist
'Superb... Hilariously funny and deeply moving' Guardian Not the Booker Prize (Winner, 2019)
'Engrossing, ambitious, joyful as well as dark - which is so close to the bone and so necessary. I can't wait to read her next book' Emilie Pine, author of Notes to Self
'Cool and knowing, jam-packed with cultural references' Metro
'Daring, funny, humane, delightful. She's the real thing' Sam Jordison, Guardian
'Darkly delicious' Sunday Mirror
'Riotous, bold, wild and witty' Sunday Express
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 64 members
I read and thoroughly enjoyed Supper Club and have hand sold numerous copies to customers over the past few years. The Odyssey was my most anticipated book of the year and it didn’t disappoint.
Like Supper Club, The Odyssey is subtle and unassuming; it gradually progressed from feeling quiet and calm, following an ordinary woman who works on a cruise ship, to a tense, confusing, and at times, disturbing portrayal of someone who does not have a grip on herself or reality. Williams is brilliant at building a narrative that is intriguing without being heavy handed with the plot or characterisation and, in Ingrid, has created a character that, while dysfunctional and erratic, is endearing and likeable.
I can’t wait to see what Lara Williams does next.
This was such a treat - I will definitely be rereading and tabbing this one
Think unhinged female protagonist x dystopian cult vibes x The Outer Worlds DLC where everyone is strangely happy and euphoric. If you loved Boy Parts, My Year of Rest and Relaxation etc, this one *may* just beat them, and I don't say that lightly.