"A clever and delightfully complicated debut…Each bend in this story raises more questions than are answered, in the best of ways and right to the end."—San Francisco Chronicle
Any student of narrative would agree that Anna Brisker, former star of the English department, should be on the brink of a brilliant academic career. But at twenty-nine, Anna is aimless, indolent, nearing the eighth year of her PhD and unable to finish her dissertation, an intellectual history of inspiration. (No, the irony is not lost on her.)
Anna encounters a potential solution to her stasis in the form of Helen Langley, a magnetic, free-spirited woman who's the niece of the late, legendary writer Frederick Langley. Having published three classics in his youth, Freddy fell silent, and the literary world assumed he never wrote again. But Helen confides to Anna that he kept secret notebooks in his later years, notebooks that Helen might be willing to show Anna. As her fascination with Freddy (and Helen) blooms into obsession, Anna finds herself falling prey to fatal misreadings – of herself and others.
A sly and playful unpacking of the cult of the artist that excoriates academia with devilish glee, Talent brings the pressures of the 21st century to bear on the classic campus novel, weaving a twisty, brainy, wickedly hilarious story about our desperate need to believe that we understand…anything.
One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year — LitHub, The Millions, Thrillist, Entertainment Weekly