Title: A Very Nice Girl
Author: Imogen Crimp
Publication Date: 3rd February 2022
Anna is struggling to afford life in London as she trains to be a singer. During the day, she vies to succeed against her course mates with their discreet but inexhaustible streams of cultural capital and money, and in the evening she sings jazz at a bar in the City to make ends meet.
It’s there that she meets Max, a financier fourteen years older than her. Over the course of one winter, Anna’s intoxication oscillates between her hard-won moments on stage, where she can zip herself into the skin of her characters, and nights spent with Max in his glass-walled flat overlooking the city.
But Anna’s fledgling career demands her undivided attention, and increasingly – whether he necessarily wills it or not – so does Max.
A Very Nice Girl has been cropping up in a lot of Most Anticipated for 2022 lists, including mine, so I was really excited to read it and it did not disappoint! The story follows Anna, an opera student who becomes romantically involved with an enigmatic older man she meets in a bar. As time progresses this relationship takes over Anna’s life and puts her passion for opera and singing in jeopardy.
I couldn’t put this book down. I think it’s superbly written with a candour and a kind of unflinching realism that completely drew me in to Anna’s world. The narrative takes the reader totally into Anna’s psyche and because of this, events and other characters are very much seen only through the lens of Anna’s expectations and insecurities. It makes her a somewhat unreliable narrator but in a way which works for the intimate nature of the story. Anna is flawed yet also eminently relatable in my view. I found everything related to Anna’s vocation of opera singing fascinating and the skilled way Crimp evokes the experience of being a performer is so effective and a huge reason that the book is so addictive. Without giving away any spoilers, I will say the ending threw me slightly but at the same time felt almost inevitable. A stunning book by a super talented writer, definitely an new auto-buy author for me!
I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher and Tandem Collective. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.
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