by Jessie Gaynor
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Pub Date 20 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2023
Random House Publishing Group - Random House, Random House
“A satire both cutting and careful in its approach, The Glow is a triumph.”—Elle
A LIT HUB BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Jane Dorner has two modes: PR Jane, twenty-five, chummy, and eager to sell you a feminist vibrator or a self-care/bereavement subscription box; and Actual Jane, twenty-nine, drifting through mediocre workdays and lackluster dates while paralyzed by her crushing mountain of overdue medical bills. When her job performance is called into question, Jane’s last-ditch effort to preserve her livelihood and pay off her debt is to land a white whale of a client.
Enter the impossibly gorgeous Cass—whom Jane discovers scrolling through Instagram—and her unassuming husband, Tom, proprietors of a “wellness retreat” based out of a ramshackle country house that may or may not be giving off cult vibes. Suddenly Jane realizes she might have found the one ladder she can climb—if she can convince them that transforming Cass herself into a high-end wellness brand is the key to all three of their futures. Magnetic yet mysterious, Cass is primed to be an influencer: She speaks in a mix of inspirational quotes and Zen koans, eats only zucchini (the most spiritually nourishing vegetable), and has baby-perfect skin. Despite Tom’s reticence about selling out, Jane sets out to mold Cass into the kind of guru who can offer inner peace and make your skin glow—all at a hefty price, of course. As Jane reckons with her own long-dormant ambitions, she wonders: Can a person really “do good” for others while profiting off them? And what parts of our selves do we lose when we trade power, influence, and beauty?
Sparklingly plotted, deliciously deadpan, and irresistibly entertaining, The Glow is a razor-sharp sendup of an industry built on the peculiar intersection of money and wellness, where health is a commodity and self-care a luxury.
“A satire both cutting and careful in its approach, The Glow is a triumph … The story follows twenty-something publicist Jane and her last-ditch effort to transform a Gwyneth-before-Goop wellness retreat owner named Cass into a bone fide brand. But money, influence, and perfect skin do not always make for good chemistry.”
–Elle, “Best New Books to Read in Summer 2023”
“Gaynor is a great writer who’s turned her critical eye to the self-care industry in her debut novel, The Glow…. Get ready to laugh (at ourselves and modern society too, of course!).”
–Lit Hub, “Most Anticipated Books of 2023”
“Jessie Gaynor’s writing is wickedly funny and sly in its observations, pairing human truths with a setting that can only belong to our present moment. The Glow manages to be both savvy in its sendup of the social-media-influencing world and empathic in its portrayal of the millions who flock to it. I tore through it in a state of pure delight, pining to return to it whenever trivialities like ‘work’ or ‘sleep’ so rudely interrupted.”
–Julia Pierpont, author of Among The Ten Thousand Things
“Sparkling like dewy skin and laugh-out-loud funny, The Glow announces Jessie Gaynor as a compelling new novelist.”
–Anna Dorn, author of Exalted
“Jessie Gaynor’s wildly funny, laser-eyed novel is Jane Austen on steroids. It’s that sharp, that wicked, that laceratingly true.”
—Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize‒winning author of The Hours
“Deliciously tart, fizzy, and absolutely intoxicating, The Glow is like a slim can of hard kombucha: a wellness tonic for people who like to make fun of the wellness industry.”
—Leigh Stein, author of Self Care
“The Glow is the first truly dead-on satire of wellness culture, understanding it as not just a consumer trend, but a way of thinking and speaking. With terrifying wit, Jessie Gaynor shreds the overrated virtues of prosperity and healthy moisture barriers, and extols the underrated virtues of irony and sanity.”
—Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens