Cover Image: The Guest

The Guest

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I personally am not a fan. Not because there are no likeable characters, not because the skewering of the wealthy is repetitive and dull, not because everyone is bent on self-destruction by a thousand cuts, not because there is no real conclusion - because I have enjoyed many books with these elements. And I love an unreliable narrator. But this book, while well written, takes all these elements and somehow avoids any resolution of anything. Hard pass.
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Fantastic read.  I did not read Ms. Cline's wildly successful first novel, but I will have to now.  She makes a very unlikable, entitled protagonist both compelling and relatable, which is a tough needle to thread.  As a reader you are compelled to keep turning the page to see what she will do next, who she will harm and manipulate and how will her story end.  It really is a fantastic novel and I highly recommend it.
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A chaotic, highly unlikeable main character destroying everything she touches in the (mostly) immaculate world of summer in the Hamptons, as told by a ridiculously good observer of human behavior.

I’ll read anything that Emma Cline writes, but this one kept me flipping pages way into the night.
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A summer out on Long Island is for the privileged few. Getting out of the stifling hot city Alex, a twenty two year old grifter follows her latest boyfriend Simon to his fancy house for a stay. At first Simon, an older successful man, seems like the perfect catch. He buys Alex new clothes and trinkets so she can fit in with his pretentious friends. One wrong move has Simon kicking her to the curb. Her latest plan is to use her few connections to string out the days until Labor Day weekend and show up at Simons big party so she can get back in his good graces. But Alex is complicated. She is truly alone in the world. Alex lies, steals and takes way too many pills. On the one hand she appears to be a character purely searching for attention and just trying to survive. On the other hand she repeatedly makes really bad decisions and has little care for the consequences of her actions. She is smart and resourceful and at the same time careless with no regard for societal rules. To say I enjoyed this read would be misleading but I definitely could not put it down. If you like grifter type stories, this may be the beach read for you!
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By far this has been the most extraordinary novel I have read in years. From the first line of the book I was mesmerized by the character Alex. It is fascinating how Emma Clone brilliantly never tells us very much about Alex’s background. where was she was born,does she have a family? The only detail of the past we are briefly informed of is that at some point Alex had worked in a brothel-the house with Eastern European women which was run by a strange,very mysterious  character named Dom. The manner in which Alex insinuates herself into men’s lives,the way Cline shows us how self-aware Alex is-always present the face her “partners” want to see,act demure but don’t give anything away so theywill see you as they want,to-Alex is a brilliant character not only for the way she so cleverly glides through life,but the way in which Emma Cline presents her to us the reader. As the book progresses there are so many passages that indicate how Alex has to work extra hard to keep her facade up. But really who is this woman and is she really 22? There is something about,her beauty,her sex appeal-that encourages-allows  men to want to devour her. And of course all along she know the power of her guile. If one steps back one begins to wonder if this is only a book about high class prostitution,or some form of commentary on women’s forced place in society . I loved the book so much that I devoured each page like I hadn’t eaten anything in months. I wanted more and more of Cline’s description and insight and I wanted to read more and more of the way in which  Alex so skillfully operates-until the end when she really hasn’t succeed,at all. I can’t remember the last time I read a book this quickly. I was never convinced when blurbs on the back covers of a book said-it will keep you up all night. This book did that to me,I had to keep reading,Alex was such a vivid and complex character beautifully,intelligently drawn by Emma Cline.
For me reading this novel was the ultimate treat of the past week. That confident authorial voice,that wisdom imbued to the main character,I have read a great deal throughout my life and I will certainly call this novel a masterpiece-and I will definitely recommend it to of my my reader friends.
Ironically I feel like I have been the most honoured and welcomed guest allowed to visit the world created by Emma Cline. Brilliant,heart-breaking,an exceptional,incredibly original work. Bravo!!
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My first Emma Cline novel and now I will read anything she writes! I love a dark, confusing, atmospheric novel where you aren't totally sure what's happening but you are left with a feeling of dread. What a masterpiece!
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While the writing is great and the setting superb, I was ultimately just sad and rather disappointed by this disturbing book that details a young woman's empty and desperate summer journey among the elite inhabitants of Long Island. I am not one of those readers who requires 'likeable' characters and happy endings but I do feel that good fiction provides some sort of insight or resolution that offers something uplifting, however slight it may be. 

Perhaps that expectation or desire was why the abrupt ending really got me down. And, the unrelenting sadness simply saturated the entire narrative though I imagine that was part of the point.  I appreciated the deep dive into a damaged and suffering psyche and there was a resonance with some of the loneliness and disconnected wanderings I experienced in my life as a young woman. But I was left with a sense of hopelessness that I didn't enjoy. Rating up from 2/12 stars because of the writing and wonderfully rendered setting.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House and the author for the opportunity to read this eARC.
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got lucky enough to receive an arc of this book that came out in may.. I’ve read everything Emma Cline has put out so far with very good reason. The woman is so so talented. 

I couldn’t put this down from start to finish (even though it derailed my plans for the day, whops). Serious thanks to @randomhouse for this one 🙌🏼

“Summer is coming to a close on the East End of Long Island, and Alex is no longer welcome.

A misstep at a dinner party, and the older man she’s been staying with dismisses her with a ride to the train station and a ticket back to the city.

With few resources and a waterlogged phone, but gifted with an ability to navigate the desires of others, Alex stays on Long Island and drifts like a ghost through the hedged lanes, gated driveways, and sun-blasted dunes of a rarefied world that is, at first, closed to her. Propelled by desperation and a mutable sense of morality, she spends the week leading up to Labor Day moving from one place to the next, a cipher leaving destruction in her wake.”
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The Guest was incredibly fascinating, made me slightly anxious, and I was stressed out by the decisions made by the main character, Alex. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book where the main character lies and manipulates so well. I couldn’t put it down! This left me with so many questions and thoughts, I’ve never read anything like it.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for sharing an advanced copy!
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This a book for people who enjoyed the 2019 film, Parasite, but might prefer a more languid pace. The story unfolds in a summer daze that lulls the reader just as much as it creepingly disturbs. It's unclear how much the author is sympathetic to her morally gray protagonist. At times, I felt disdain in the writing for the twenty-something floating close to the edge of economic precarity in her wealthy boyfriend's infinity pool. At other times, the author drew parallels between her and a helpless wild animal. In fact, there may have been too many animalic references for my taste. Ultimately, it's up to the reader to decide who the sympathetic characters are, if any. I myself don't find any billionaire to be sympathetic.

I received a digital advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review.
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Emma Cline delivered, again. 

It feels like the unreliable, unlikeable white woman protagonist is trendy right now, and for good reason. It’s an easy and entertaining, albeit obvious, way to make light social commentary by poking fun at these clueless characters. 

The Guest doesn’t do that. It doesn’t necessarily condemn its protagonist, Alex, whose life of deception is rapidly crumbling, the house of cards she shoddily built for herself teetering. Instead, Alex, a ghost in her own life, provides readers with something of a mirror; she allows you to honestly examine yourself, your privilege, your choices. You won’t necessarily like her, even in moments where you’ll naturally extend her some empathy, but you might start to see yourself in her, for better or worse. 

But it also doesn’t outright condemn the other side of the two-way mirror: the wealthy, wasteful elite summering in The Hamptons. It would have been so easy for Cline to make this a novel that screamed “eat the rich,” and it might have been equally entertaining and maybe more powerful that way. 

But I think there’s something really powerful about how quiet this book is, what it says about wealth and deception and miscommunication in between its words. I was stressed nearly the whole time, and even that speaks loudly. The more I think about it, the more I’m impressed: The Guest’s volume is so deliberate. Everything about it is intentional, including the answers and explanations we never get. 

This book also felt effortless, and it obviously wasn’t because no book is, but that’s how you know it’s well done — well written, well edited, well executed. Every part of it belongs as it is.

Thank you for the copy!
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Alex, has spent her whole life navigating the desires of others to find a place in life she can be in relative safety. And she will continue to do so even when she isn’t welcome anymore in her older boyfriend’s house and she doesn’t have anywhere else to go. Cline created something impressive here. Alex was definitely an unlikable character but I couldn't look away from her. Thank you so much to Random House for the ARC of this one.
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Alex is 22 and living her life dating men who take care of her financially. She is running out of marks, and has made some questionable decisions lately. Just as things are looking dire for her she meets Simon. Simon invites her to stay at his beach house with him until his end of summer party on Labor Day. Everything is going well for her until she steps over the line at a dinner party, and Simon cuts ties with her. She convinces her self Simon just needs space and she is determined to fire out a way to stay in Long Island until the party in less than a week. She uses every skill she has learned about manipulating human nature and works anyone she can to make it.

The premise of the book was so fascinating, and I really think the author executed it wonderfully. This was just a case of this was not a book for me. I think the writing is phenomenal, and the exploration of human nature was amazing. The complexity of every character, and how real they all felt was masterful. I did not love the book but I can understand my bias.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for this Advanced Copy of The Guest by Emma Cline.  I found this one incredibly hard to get into and ultimately did not finish it.
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Emma Cline likes to have carefree but troubled woman as her main character. After The Girls, The Guest does not fail to give you bit of an interesting woman who tries to a find an easy life while putting herself in tough positions. 

Don't get me wrong; Alex is a brave woman considering the situations she put herself in. I wouldn't be able to do half of the things she managed to pull off, but also how realistic is it? Luck will be on your side once, maybe twice  but she keeps getting opportunities keeping her close to her goal. 

One way or the other, we use people in our lives either for small favors or sometimes throw them under the bus to save ourselves. Alex is next level when it comes to getting what she wants. She is incredibly selfish. I understand that life was not treating her right, but you would assume she would have bit more compassion for other because of that. Anyways... Emma Cline delivered one of her characters again, but I couldn't feel the connection.
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The Guest follows Alex, newly "abandoned" in Long Island, as she manipulates strangers into helping her and giving her a place to stay. The novel takes place over one immersive week until a labor day party thrown by the older man she was staying with, where she intends to recover their relationship. This was so stressful to read! Alex is a darker shade of morally grey character; she's taking advantage of an interesting cast of people (usually rich kids) in a really unnecessary way, but I still wanted to root for her safety and return as someone who doesn't really have a better option. A very complicated, immersive read. Definitely recommend!
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love me a good scammer!!!
this book was a quick, easy and fun read for me, i found the main character to be kinda evil but enjoyable, a great summer book!
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The Guest tells the story of a week in the life of a 22-year-old grifter in the Hamptons. We meet Alex swimming in the ocean and high on painkillers stolen from Simon, an older man who thinks Alex is a recent college graduate and not a call girl. He invites her to spend the rest of the summer with him. Set over the course of a week, Alex drifts around the Hamptons and exploits various people to stay in close proximity to Simon who has grown tired of her and sent her away. Alex's poor decision making, and desperation leaves a trail of wreckage in her wake. 

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book, which is an excellent character study and commentary on the commoditization of youth and beauty.
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I really struggled to get into this book - Alex was not likable at all and I felt like the story was all over the place.  There was no background on why Alex was living her life the way she was and what exactly she had stolen from Dom.  Emma Cline is a good writer but this book just wasn't for me.
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I would have read a thousand pages following this character.  Really enjoyed this story and did not want it to end.  A great summer read!  Definitely recommend.
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