When Rosa Lane, a promising young journalist, impulsively hits the send button on an email to her boss saying "I quit," so begins her pursuit of enlightenment in the jungles of cutthroat London. As she embarks upon her quest for a sense of purpose, she is deceived by her lover, surprised by her friends, turned out by her roommate, threatened by her bank manager, picked over by prospective employers, and tormented by all the bizarre expectations of the modern world. An erudite and darkly comic novel, brimming with lacerating wit and compassion, Inglorious is a truly engrossing character study of a woman walking the edge between self-destruction and self-discovery.
Kavenna's grinding first novel arrives a year after her well-reviewed nonfiction debut, The Ice Museum. In the wake of her mother's death, 30-something Rosa Lane walks out of her job as a London critic. When her relationship of 10 years ends (her boyfriend gets engaged to a mutual friend), Rosa's nascent nervous breakdown hits full force. She cuts her life down to the size of a duffle bag, couch-surfs into ever-deeper personal and financial lows and can't bring herself to respond to work inquiries or to ask her father for a loan. Kavenna's all-too-faithful rendering of the fight to stay sane ends as Rosa rouses her strength to confront her ex- before his wedding, and then to board a train to Paris, where she seems likely as not to hit bottom in a city full of strangers. Kavenna is incisive and funny enough to make Rosa convincingly crazy, but Rosa's repetitive, nonresolving woes give the novel an unpleasant quality, something like Leaving Las Vegasmeets Groundhog Day. (June)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information