"The New Me" by Halle Butler. TNS
“Jillian” author Halle Butler, a Granta best young American novelist, offers a darkly comic view of contemporary life in the highly readable “The New Me,” about a Chicago temp with a good education and a bad attitude.
Millie has two successful, indulgent parents and no student loans. Yet she is “flailing, filled with puke, thinking about death and feeling angry all the time.” At age 30, she hasn’t made the “temp to perm” transition, which might have something to do with arriving late, leaving early and not completing her work.
She’s filled with contempt for her new colleagues at a designer furniture showroom — and pretty much everyone else.
She misses her ex-boyfriend James, even as she realizes she was “too mean and too self-centered.” Her only friend is the equally self-absorbed Sarah, who’s jealous of slovenly Millie’s financial support and joins her in drinking too much.
Her downstairs neighbor Kim recognizes the smell coming from Millie’s apartment from her “pseudo-freegan co-op” undergrad days at Michigan State.
Presented as a counterpoint, coupled Kim is glad to be free of “vulgar and desperate ways of living justified by the false pretense of nonconformity as a sign of intelligence and authenticity.” Millie may recognize something is wrong, but she’s unable or unwilling to make the slightest changes, a millennial stereotype taken to the extreme.
Butler presents a vivid portrait of her pitiful yet pitiless protagonist. It’s hard to know what Millie needs most: medication, a hug or a restraining order.
Tribune News Service
Often, they’re satisfying neither as novels nor as story collections, but Julia Phillips’ debut, “Disappearing Earth,” is an exception.
Spring, the third instalment in Ali Smith’s series of novels about modern Britain, bursts with the bruised hope of redemption.
John Connell’s memoir “The Farmer’s Son” opens with Connell in a barn on the family farm in Ireland, both arms shoulder-deep inside of a cow.
Sitting alongside their teachers, their faces full of hope, mischief and occasional boredom, thousands of London schoolchildren have been immortalised in a new work by British artist Steve McQueen.
"Marriage Story" takes the audience deep into this world, showing how two people fully invested in splitting amicably can get swept up so easily in animosity and legal challenges.
Sources at the hospital said she was brought at around 1.30 am on Monday, adding that she had developed pneumonia and left ventricular failure.