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The Blondes: A Novel Hardcover – April 21, 2015
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“EMILY SCHULTZ IS MY NEW HERO.” ―STEPHEN KING on Emily Schultz
“LIKE THE LITERARY LOVE CHILD OF NAOMI WOLF AND STEPHEN KING, The Blondes examines our cultural attitudes about beauty through the lens of a post-9/11, high-alert nightmare. The result is a SPELLBINDING brew, both satirical and deeply satisfying.” ―Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni
“Sharp and fluid and legitimately disturbing. A THINKING PERSON'S NAILBITER.” ―Ben Lorry, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
“The Blondes is intelligent, MESMERIZING, and fearless. An entirely original and beautifully twisted satire with a heart of darkness.” ―Emily St. John Mandel, author of The Lola Quartet
“An energetic, startling novel. Emily Schultz is a writer with a deadly sense of humor. YOU LAUGH ONE MOMENT, YOU'RE FRIGHTENED THE NEXT. As unsettling as it is funny, The Blondes had me hooked from an early line: The neighbors have finished burning the hair... How could anybody not read on from there?” ―Peter Orner, author of Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge
“Emily Schultz gives new meaning to the term 'femme fatale' in her apocalyptic, darkly satirical new novel... A gripping and unsettling story...It's a scarily realistic state of affairs.” ―The Toronto Star
“The Blondes takes you by surprise and keeps on surprising.” ―Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist
“A nail-biter that is equal parts suspense, science fiction, and a funny, dark sendup of the stranglehold of gender.” ―Kirkus (Starred)
“Suspenseful, ferociously clever, exceedingly well written, poignant and hilarious.” ―Booklist (Starred)
“Genre and fans of feminist horror will welcome Emily Schultz' skin-crawling, Cronenbergian satire The Blondes, a horror story offering a refreshingly feminine spin to the ever-expanding pool of apocalyptic fiction.” ―Rue Morgue
“Fast-paced drama, punctuated with humor...Schultz writes a subtle commentary on how discrimination operates around the globe.” ―Self Awareness
“Schultz spins an eerie tale with perspective into our cultural attitudes about beauty.” ―Entertainment Weekly
“Emily Shultz balances biting humor and thrilling suspense in a complex story.” ―US Weekly
“What started out as a pseudo zombie-tale is now also a road story, and a feminist bildungsroman, and a parable about prejudice and reproductive freedom and immigration” ―The Los Angeles Times
About the Author
EMILY SCHULTZ is the co-founder of the literary journal Joyland. Her previous novel, Heaven Is Small, was named a finalist for the Trillium Book Award alongside books by Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, as was The Blondes. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Brian Joseph Davis. The inspiration for The Blondes was a Gucci ad featuring murderous looking blonde women in a Vanity Fair magazine. Emily's story about her masquerading as a blonde was featured in Elle Magazine. A blog post from Emily entitled "How I Spent the Stephen King Money" recently went viral.
Top customer reviews
Boy, was I wrong in thinking I could skim this author. She writes far too well for that. I had to slow down and savor the flavor of her prose as she drew me into her compelling story. As a writer, my first reaction to reading a better writer, someone more polished and sophisticated, literary, if you will, is a feeling of intimidation. Once I allow myself to be a reader, though, I admire the bolder writerly touches. For instance, Hazel narrates her story partly in the second person, describing events to her unborn child. Only one other book I've seen used second person as well, Jay McInerney in Bright Lights, Big City.
I've seen some published reviews describing Emily Schultz as the next coming of Margaret Atwood or Stephen King. Ironic that — the heroine of this novel, Hazel Hayes, gets into a discussion about some of the older icons of film and acts as if she doesn't even know Woody Allen. So I'm thinking, if you want to make such comparisons, go modern. Using the right material, this author is Gillian Flynn of Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train.
I've also seen reviews calling this book hilarious. True, a few situations will make you smile, but many of the absurdities of the behavior of panicked people and governments are rather a lot more scary than funny because Ms. Schultz makes them much too realistic to laugh at. What surprised me most was Ms. Schultz's ability to sell the at-first-glance absurd premise that the infection of the "Blonde Zombies" was the ominous force driving the novel. Never once using the word, zombie, not even in the frequent news reports in the story (as if that would happen).
The “blonde fury” hook drives Hazel into her many situations of conflict in the story. Persuasively, I might add. I think the author and editor of this wonderfully insightful tale really wanted to stay away from the Z-word. They were right to do so, because the novel is more literary than World War B. Even so, the attacks of the infected are suspenseful and jolting as anything Stephen King. Kudos there. (She mentions Children of the Corn, BTW, nice touch, too.)
Small points. I don’t mind profanity, but I found the scatlogical reference to the native pronunciation of Toronto just a tad gratuitous. I did notice a couple misspellings, dialled and one other word early in the book. But those are nitpicks.
Hazel Hayes’s remarkable journey through her pregnancy amid a world in disintegration ends on a redemptive, surprising note. I’m left wondering, absent the pandemic that drives this novel, whether we aren’t treating each other just as poorly day to day in the absence of panic. The author’s insight here is a discomfiting one, that acts of ordinary kindness (and bravery) are all too rare, and callousness and cowardice all too common.