This debut novel by Calla Henkel will have you glued to the pages. Other People’s Clothes follows two NYU art students on a study abroad trip to Berlin where they try to make a name for themselves while attempting to suss out the intentions of their infamous author landlord. This novel starts slow but morphs into a psychological thriller that will leave you with whiplash.
“Hoping to escape the pain of the recent murder of her best friend, art student Zoe Beech finds herself studying abroad in the bohemian capital of Europe–Berlin. Zoe, rudderless, relies on the arrangements of fellow exchange student Hailey Mader, who idolizes Warhol and Britney Spears and wants nothing more than to be an art star. On Craigslist, Hailey unknowingly stumbles on an apartment sublet posted by a well-known thriller writer. Feeling as though they’ve won the lottery, the girls move into the high-ceilinged prewar flat. Soon they realize that their landlady, Beatrice, who is supposed to be on a residency in Vienna, is watching them–and her next book appears to be based on their lives. Taking stock of their mundane routines–Law and Order binges and nightly nachos–Hailey insists they become people worthy of a novel. As the year unravels and events spiral out of control, they begin to wonder whose story they are living, and how will it end? Other People’s Clothes is brilliant on the sometimes dangerous intensity of female friendships, on millennial life in the city, on the lengths people will go to in order to eradicate emotional pain” (From SELCO catalog).
Other People’s Clothes is a character driven novel with wonderful atmosphere; perfect for the upcoming film adaptation!
“New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel Monstress , Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut collection of dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction, you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women. Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods. Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.”
I love short fiction and general, but it’s especially great for the summer, when you can knock out a story of novella while enjoying the warm weather, and was thrilled to see that Marjorie Liu had had released a short fiction collection. I’m a huge fan of Liu’s Monstress series of graphic novels, and The Tangleroot Palace delivered exact mix of heart and grit that I expected, and more.
“In this brilliant debut fantasy, a story of secrets, rebellion, and murder are shattering the Hollows, where magic costs memory to use, and only the son of the kingdom’s despised traitor holds the truth. Michael is branded a traitor as a child because of the murder of the king’s nine-year-old son, by his father David Kingman. Ten years later on Michael lives a hardscrabble life, with his sister Gwen, performing crimes with his friends against minor royals in a weak attempt at striking back at the world that rejects him and his family. In a world where memory is the coin that pays for magic, Michael knows something is there in the hot white emptiness of his mind. So when the opportunity arrives to get folded back into court, via the most politically dangerous member of the kingdom’s royal council, Michael takes it, desperate to find a way back to his past. He discovers a royal family that is spiraling into a self-serving dictatorship as gun-wielding rebels clash against magically trained militia. What the truth holds is a set of shocking revelations that will completely change the Hollows, if Michael and his friends and family can survive long enough to see it”–
The Kingdom of Liars is a fantastic read for anyone who likes dark, intrigue heavy fantasy, or just stories of revenge and political maneuvering. The plot is propulsive and enjoyable, with excellent worldbuilding, that will grab you and pull you all the way to the explosive climax. Even better, a sequel has already been released.