By Harriet Lane
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9781451673166, 224pp.)
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
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A SUSPENSEFUL, ASSURED L ITERARY DEBUT THAT EXPLORES THE DARK SIDE OF DESIRE AND AMBITION THROUGH ONE WOMAN’ S UNLIKELY ENTRY INTO A N ELITE WORLD AND A DESTINY OF HER OWN DESIGN
ON A BITTER WINTER’ S NIGHT, Frances Thorpe comes upon the aftermath of a car crash and, while comforting the dying driver, Alys Kyte, hears her final words. The wife of a celebrated novelist, Alys moved in rarefied circles, and when Frances agrees to meet the bereaved family, she glimpses a world entirely foreign to her: cultured, wealthy, and privileged. While slowly forging a friendship with Alys’s carelessly charismatic daughter, Frances finds her own life takes a dramatic turn, propelling her from an anonymous existence as an assistant editor for the books section of a newspaper to the dizzying heights of literary society.
With her unforgettable protagonist, author Harriet Lane draws readers into a tightly paced tale that careens towards an audacious ending. Transfixing, insightful, and unsettling, Alys, Always drops us into the mind of an enigmatic young woman whose perspective on a glamorous world also shines a light on those on the outside who would risk all to become part of it.
Harriet Lane has worked as an editor and writer at Tatler and the Observer. She has also written for the Guardian, the Telegraph, and Vogue. She lives in London, England. This is her first novel.
“This highly entertaining and squirm-inducing short novel that Frances herself might reductively
pitch to her boss in the books department as Howards End meets All About Eve.….A breezy, lacerating first novel.” —New York Times Book Review
A “taut debut novel.” —New York Times
“Harriet Lane writes with style, wrapping her suspenseful debut in lovely bits of gently creepy description, as well as delicious social critique…a fast, sharp read.” —Boston Globe
“A deft and lively brain-twist of a thriller for which the only word that seems apropos is ‘spellbinding.’” —Chicago Tribune
"Controlled and precise, Lane’s writing bewitches with its undertones of implied meanings and carefully hidden secrets. This is a gem." -Kirkus (starred review)
“Lane’s wry debut delves into the political machinations of London’s literary scene.” —Publishers Weekly
“Harriet Lane’s mesmerizing debut novel, Alys, Always, is a slow-burning psychological novel that unsettles and satisfies in equal, tantalizing measure—a literary All About Eve that stands testament to the old saying that it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for.” —The Daily Beast
"This novel begins with a bang and delivers all sorts of surprises, but manages some accute and moving observations...A very fine debut. Lane works out her dramatic premise with great originality."--The Times (UK)
"Wonderfully observed...This is a gripping, psychologically complex achievement, whose greatest success is its lingering sense of unease."--The Telegraph (UK)
"[An] exceptional first novel...In Frances [Harriet Lane] has created a character Daphne du Maurier might have been prood of: vulnerable, manipulative, resourceful, chippy, but one of us."--Financial Times (UK)