In a debut novel as radiant as it is caustic, a former influencer confronts her past—and takes inventory of the damages that underpin the surface-glamour of social media.
“A gothic twist on the contemporary woman's life. Immersive, wicked, and so much fun. Allie Rowbottom is the only writer that should be writing on this era of Instagram and Influencers.”
—Marlowe Granados, author of Happy Hour
“Rowbottom delivers a complex and deeply engaging portrayal of a woman looking back on her career as an Instagram model. The narrative fluidly alternates between the near future, when Anna is in her mid-30s, and her rise to influencer status in 2017 at 19 . . . it all builds to a scorching commentary on society’s blindness toward female pain. Fans of Mary Gaitskill’s work and Black Mirror will flock to this pitch-perfect novel.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
At 19, she was an Instagram celebrity. Now, at 35, she works behind the cosmetic counter at the “black and white store,” peddling anti-aging products to women seeking physical and spiritual transformation. She too is seeking rebirth. She’s about to undergo the high-risk, elective surgery Aesthetica™, a procedure that will reverse all her past plastic surgery procedures, returning her, she hopes, to a truer self. Provided she survives the knife.
But on the eve of the surgery, her traumatic past resurfaces when she is asked to participate in the public takedown of her former manager/boyfriend, who has rebranded himself as a paragon of “woke” masculinity in the post-#MeToo world. With the hours ticking down to her surgery, she must confront the ugly truth about her experiences on and off the Instagram grid.
Propulsive, dark, and moving, Aesthetica is a Veronica for the age of “Instagram face,” delivering a fresh, nuanced examination of feminism, #MeToo, and mother-daughter relationships, all while confronting our collective addiction to followers, filters, and faux realities.
We recommend that guests wear masks on the night.
Allie Rowbottom is the author of the memoir Jell-O Girls, a New York Times Editors’ Choice Selection, Amazon Best Book of the Month, Indie Next Pick, and Real Simple Best Book of the year. Allie’s essays and short fiction can be found in Vanity Fair, Salon, Lit Hub, No Tokens, NY Tyrant, The Drunken Canal, Alta Journal, Bitch, and elsewhere. She holds a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the writer Jon Lindsey.
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