- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Scribner (January 8, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1501199110
- ISBN-13: 978-1501199110
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Looker: A Novel Hardcover – January 8, 2019
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“It’s easy to imagine that stars live gauzily perfect lives. But what happens when the illusion turns deadly? In Sims’s creepy debut, a woman fixates on the actress living across the street, admiration tilting into pathology as events in her own life—infertility, her husband’s desertion—unmask her fragility. The ultimate unreliable narrator, she reveals her instability slowly. By the end you’ll be gasping.”
““A wicked slow-burn . . . . Looker glides toward its ending as if eagerly awaiting the discovery of something ghastly.”
"In prose that moves between lyrical and caterwauling, the poet Laura Sims has pulled off the high-wire act of making bitterness delicious."
—Vogue, "Most Anticipated Books of 2019"
"This debut is a penetrating and unsettling psychological thriller ... It’s a novel about identity, appearances, and envy, and it’s one of the season’s most timely reads, an innovative experiment in what a thriller can be."
—Literary Hub, "Most Anticipated Books of 2019"
"In this brief, haunting novel, Sims chronicles the inner life of an unnamed woman ... Looker is a powerful sylph of a book about creation and destruction and the permeable boundary between them."
—Literary Hub, "13 Books You Should Read This January"
"In this electrifying Hitchcockian debut, an unhappy woman’s obsession with a nearby actress will push the boundaries between insanity and desperation."
—Washington Independent Review of Books, "16 Fiction Releases to Watch for”
"I've said it before and I'll say it again, I can't wait to see Looker on the big (or small) screen one day ... If you loved The Woman in the Window or Girl on the Train, you won't be able to put Laura Sims's book down this January."
—Women.com, "10 New Books You Absolutely Must Read This January"
“Tense, twisted and briskly paced, poet Laura Sims's debut novel, Looker, is the progressively disturbing story of one woman's grief-fueled spiral downward to an irredeemable rock bottom… Somewhat surprisingly, the most disturbing thing about Looker is the creeping sense of complicity that Sims engenders in the reader… By the end, Sims compels us to ask: Have we been deranged, predatory voyeurs into the actress's life—or into the narrator's?”
“Laura Sims’ sharp debut novel is a thriller about an unhealthy fixation between neighbors, one that’s propelled by the unnamed narrator’s unraveling as she descends into a vortex of resentment and obsession.”
—Southern Living, Best New Books Winter 2019
“Jealousy rears its ugly head in Sims’s chilling and riveting debut. In this tightly plotted novel, Sims takes the reader fully into the mind of a woman becoming increasingly unhinged, and turns her emotionally fraught journey into a provocative tale about the dangers of coveting what belongs to another.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Readers fond of protagonists who profess to guzzling wine at nine a.m. will breeze right through this one's bad decisions, moments of shocking clarity and cruelty, and—no spoilers!—total undoing. A dark and stylish drama featuring a self-aware yet unstable narrator.”
“[A] gripping and intense debut . . . . This twisted and tightly coiled tale will define obsession on a new level.”
“Sims’s debut is a breathless and unrelenting portrait of one woman’s unraveling.”
—Greer Hendricks, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Wife Between Us
"A perfect, dark pleasure...propelled by a woman whose obsession with a famous actress spurs one irredeemable trespass after another. A rare debut filled with gorgeous sentences, savory twists, and shot through with ferocious truths, this is the kind of book that can only be written by an author who is thrillingly unafraid."
—Mona Awad, author of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
“With an agile precision reminiscent of Lydia Davis, Laura Sims captures the obsessiveness of a woman who unravels after the collapse of her marriage. A taut, gripping portrait, all the more sinister for its elegance.”
—Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks
“Like Polanski’s “Repulsion,” Laura Sims’s intense, gripping first novel shoehorns us into a gathering sense of dread, heightened at every turn by our sympathy for her relentlessly unraveling protagonist. The precise, observant writing slips through the skin without ever calling attention to itself.”
—Peter Straub, author of A Dark Matter and Interior Darkness
“A tightly coiled novel about the poison of resentment. With arresting candor, Laura Sims reveals how fatally it can destroy one's relationship to the world.”
—Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew
"This riveting cautionary tale chronicles the catastrophic downward spiral of a woman whose situation exposes the fragility of human happiness. In language as piercing as the story itself, Sims offers an intense portrait of obsession. Looker is the work of a fierce and fearless writer."
—Helen Phillips, author of The Beautiful Bureaucrat
About the Author
Laura Sims is the author of Looker, a novel; four books of poetry, most recently Staying Alive; and the editor of Fare Forward: Letters from David Markson. She lives outside of New York City with her family.
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A grab-your-attention in one sitting kind of way because it’s hard to fathom that anyone is this twisted but the mind works, or doesn’t, in mysterious ways and let me tell you, the writing is outstanding in this study of a looker.
Also very well drawn out main character obviously mentally ill.......bipolar emotions and deteriorating rapidly.
Having said that, I was disappointed in the book for a few reasons. First of all there is no backstory......at all. Secondly there was no plot.....at all. Third, book ended too soon and too suddenly
Although it kept you reading watching this woman slowly descend into quasi-madness, you couldn't look away- like a trainwreck. Morbid curiousity drove the book forward, yet it wasn't satisfying.
With such extreme emotions at play, I would have liked more action, more information, more interaction between characters.
Laura Sims is an extremely gifted writer and hopefully her next book will have evolved to a degree. I will definitely read any future books.
Looker is the tale of a sad, obsessed lady. I would consider the book more of a character study in the literary fiction genre with some aspects of suspense. The main character is obsessed with her neighbor, who is an actress. Most of her day is spent daydreaming about scenarios involving the actress. One of the great but also frustrating aspects of the book is the inability to determine what is real and what is a daydream until after the event possibly occurs. There are a thousand reasons why I don’t like the main character, which usually means that I will dislike the book. However, I ended up absolutely fascinated by the story.
The downsides: there are many inappropriate sexual fantasies … and realities. Also she’s a terrible pet owner.
Trigger Warning (and also SPOILER ALERT, but I wish someone had told me this before reading): death of a pet by murder. This deeply upset me
Overall, a horrifying yet fascinating read.
The professor falls into an increasing obsession with her famous actress neighbor. She envisions them becoming great friends despite never meeting her formerly. As her fixation grows, the professor watches the actress and her family through their uncovered windows day and night.
Marketing Looker as a thriller is a mistake. For the first half of the book, I kept waiting for a murder or something exciting to occur. It never did. Instead, I realized this a story of woman’s descent into delusion and insanity. Readers who like woman’s fiction will gobble this short novel up in one sitting. However, thriller readers will be bored silly. 3 stars.
Thanks to Scribner Books for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.