Cover Image: The Guest

The Guest

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Alex is an early twenty-something spending her time as the girlfriend of an older rich man. When she makes a reckless mistake she’s sent packing with no money, no friends, and nowhere to go. Bouncing from one person and place to another (while avoiding her increasingly hostile drug dealer), she knows if she can just make it to the Labor Day party in a week everything will be okay. Alex is such a fascinating character - aimless and bored, semi-obsessed with pools, scheming for personal gain, and delusional about the dangerous people/situations she finds herself. And yet you root for her to be okay! The ending drove me a little crazy in a good and bad way. I’m still thinking about those last pages 🙃

Was this review helpful?

I did not love this one. I was very excited because of how much I loved The Girls, but I could not get into this one. It didn't have the same excitement or pace to it. Maybe it didn't even have the same plot emphasis in the beginning so I just didn't get what the point was from the beginning and that is important for me to be able to get into a book and move forward.

Was this review helpful?

I tried to read this contemporary literature novel because of the author. However, I found myself not connecting with it at all. Thank you netgalley for the early copy!

Was this review helpful?

4.75*
this was near perfect for me! i absolutely was obsessed with Alex & i found this so difficult to put down while reading. it was very anxiety inducing not knowing how this was going to play out, felt very real to me. my only complaint is the ending felt like it leaped off that rocky cliff.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoy Emma Cline's writing, and while this wasn't my favorite, I enjoyed it. This is definitely a character-driven novel with very little plot or action, so if you don't like that sort of story, this may not be for you, but I love a morally grey lead so I ate this up.

Was this review helpful?

The Guest comes out on the heels of continued grifter hype, somehow making an every-girl alluring, mysterious and addictively hateable.

The story is deceptively simple and masterfully told. Alex has secrets, but she can fool her way into any situation. She owes her roommates money and some dude named Dom is after her. Enter Simon, a deliciously rich man in his 50s who seems to have fallen for Alex’s charms. However, a misstep gets her kicked out of Simon’s life. A tiny error. Good thing Simon has a party at the end of the week. All Alex has to do is pass time, survive her own rot, and she will be welcome back at the party. Right? RIGHT?

It’s easy to hate Alex in the same breath it’s so easy to agree with her. She’s the perfect antihero, disrupting upper class Long Island summers with her disdain. It’s hard to tell if she has an agenda or is just trying on new shoes. The prose was light as a feather, tense but easy to slip through. I barreled through the book in a couple of days, was fully immersed and completely satisfied at the end. I know this book has been super hyped, but I think it lives up to it.

Was this review helpful?

Wow, that was bad. Alex is a despicable character with no redeeming qualities. She's just a leech and I hated her. Nothing happens in this book. There's no plot. Just a trashy grifter leeching off other people because she can. She doesn't even have a reason for it.

Was this review helpful?

Unfortunately, despite being a huge fan of Emma Cline, I couldn’t get into this book. The story didn’t grab me and the writing didn’t keep me engaged.

Was this review helpful?

No question about it, this book was disturbing. It follows Alex, a young woman who lives on the fringes, glomming on to men who can support her or from whom she can steal drugs, or money, or who offer her for a time, a taste of a lifestyle that she would never by herself be able to afford. Alex is only twenty-two, but we know little else about her except that she may or may not have landed in NYC from a semi-rural community, has little or no one by way of family and no constant person who could be considered a friend. We get the sense something happened to Alex, though she never tells anyone, nor even thinks about what that may be.

All we know for sure is that now, Alex is a grifter, living off her youth and good looks, hoping to score something like permanence with a man who will keep her. And fortunately, Alex seems to have done so with Simon, a fifty something-year-old, very successful man who has taken her with him to his summer home in what sounds like the Hamptons. Simon buys her expensive gifts and takes her to exclusive parties, and expects little of Alex besides her presence, and of course, sex. For a while, Alex complies, but she is by her nature a n'er do well, and eventually, her old habit of screwing things up (for no reason other than that's what she does) rears its head and Alex finds herself once again adrift, chased by her own demons and someone else who's all to real.

Lots of reviewers didn't like this book simply because Alex herself was unlikeable, or because her errors were unforced ones, or because the plot seemed to meander. I think they may have missed the point. Alex does not like herself. Alex does not know why she screws up. And the plot meandered because it is the nature of Alex's existence. The author, IMO did not write a book that was pointless, she crafted a portrait of a person who is herself without focus, and understanding and insight about her own life. When an insight arises, she silences it with men, with drugs, with self-harm, occasionally by harming others, and observing people through a lens of malicious and predatory curiosity. She is a tragic figure well-drawn.

The ending also seemed to worry some people, but I thought it was pretty clearly about someone seeking to belong in a place where she transparently does not; fooling no one but herself. There's a lot of grit in this one, so if that's not your jam, skip it. But I'm going back to read Emma Cline's debut novel, 'The Girls' because this one was excellent contemporary fiction.

P.S. Check out Tama Janowitz's 'A Certain Age' if you liked this one. I would be very surprised if Emma Cline hadn't read and been inspired by it.

Was this review helpful?

I LOVE Emma Cline and the guest was no exception. Absolutely adored this. The character development was next level. So relatable and loveable. I’d like to reread it asap.

Was this review helpful?

The Guest is a fascinating, cerebral read about a woman willing to lie, cheat and steal to survive. Why is she so desperate? How did she end up here? These questions are never answered. Instead, we follow Alex through a week of swindling her way through the Hamptons. Conning one rich idiot after another. Before Alex even gets to the Hamptons, the grifting has already caught up with her. We just follow her along as the situation gets more dire, solutions seem farther away and as the pages dwindle, the solutions still don't appear. If you enjoyed Cline's first book, The Girls, you'll absolutely love The Guest.

Was this review helpful?

I rarely read a book in one setting, but this story grabbed me from the very beginning. There is a tension and foreboding atmosphere, making you fell something bad is going to happen to Alex (the unlikable main character) or to someone she encounters due to her interactions with them. While Alex is unlikable for many reasons, and you know very little about her, somehow I found myself sympathizing with her plight. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending , but the lack of resolutions for the characters,didn't really detract from the overall plot 4.5 stars

Was this review helpful?

Amazing read, you can finish this in one day. Emma Cline is trying something different than in GIRLS, which was a rather lush and long-winded book. Here, we get almost no detail; everything is clinical and severe, and the woman at the center of the story functions like a stage onto which we can project our fears, annoyances, and desires. I wish the ending was a little different--it's almost too neat/clean, but I understand she wants to leave it open rather than creating a heavy-handed bow.
I do want to see her write about something entirely different though –– maybe a novel from the perspective of a man.

Was this review helpful?

I received this book as an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Penguin Random House and NetGalley!

This book was so deliciously awful, and I loved it.

This story is about a young woman named Alex that seems to have no real discernable personality traits other than the fact that she is an excellent manipulator and knows exactly what to do or say to get what she needs from a person or situation. We follow Alex as she meanders her way through life and people over the course of approximately a week. As she makes her way through these people, she leaves some serious emotional and physical damage in her wake.

Let me be clear about this story. There is no real plot going on, no "true" conflict, and certainly no resolution. This is not a book for those that need those things in a story. As a self-proclaimed lover of sad girl lit fic and stories about terrible women wandering their way through life, this was perfect for me. Some words that immediately come to mind when thinking about this book include: cringy, gross, and stifling, all with an overarching feeling of dread throughout the entire book.

While all of those things sound horrible, I really enjoyed this story. HOWEVER, I'm just begging lit fic authors: can we PLEASE stop using the neglect/abuse of animals as plot devices? It can really ruin a book for me.

Thanks again to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for this one! I should have read this story a lot sooner. It's a perfect summertime read.

Was this review helpful?

Hmm. I've tried, I'm just not an Emma Cline girl. This story really didn't bring anything to the table, and it left me wondering why it even exists? Idk. Not my thing I guess. I felt the same about The Girls. She has some beautiful lines and her prose is lovely, but her stories just seem to be lacking.

Was this review helpful?

Emma Cline never disappoints! I love a character that is absolutely chaotic and extremely unlikable, Alex gives exactly this. The writing was beautiful and the plot left me with a high sense of anxiety even after putting down the book. I absolutely loved this book and will be purchasing a copy for my friend’s upcoming birthday ❤️

Was this review helpful?

A fascinating journey of a girl living by her wits and generosity of men, being haunted by a man she robbed, and trying to get back to a life she thinks she wants over a space of a week of couch surfing, people using, drug taking, theft.

Was this review helpful?

Unfortunately this was a DNF for me. I tried for 2/3 of the book but then gave up with the continuous and repetitive efforts of Alex to find a place to stay, steal from people and display absolutely no redeeming qualities. The lure of the connection to "Dom" wasn't enough to keep me interested.

Was this review helpful?

The Guest was a really intriguing read. I liked reading about the different adventures Alex would go on to sustain herself when she was effectively homeless. I liked the constant tension leading up to the ending. While Alex was an "unlikeable" narrator, I did still feel for her. The ending was open-ended, which I appreciated.

Was this review helpful?

“The Guest” started off promising enough, but it just seemed to sort of meander through from the middle of the book onward. It became a bit confusing and random as the story went on and I found myself not having much of a rooting interest as the book concluded. It disappointed me since I enjoyed her earlier work, “The Girls”. I can only give this one 2 stars ⭐️ as there was not too much that was memorable for me in this book. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley.

Was this review helpful?