Scarlett Thomas (Author)

Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
Counterpoint LLC
Publish Date
January 12, 2021
5.5 X 8.2 X 0.7 inches | 0.53 pounds

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About the Author

SCARLETT THOMAS was born in London in 1972. Her other novels include The Seed Collectors, PopCo, and The End of Mr. Y, which was long-listed for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, and she teaches creative writing at the University of Kent.


The privileged teenage girls in this dark comedy, attending a dysfunctional, third-string boarding school in the countryside north of London, get caught up in a mass-psychogenic, contagious version of anorexia nervosa. Thomas's prose is fast-thinking, entertaining and punchy. --The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice

One of the funniest novels in recent years . . . It takes a special kind of audacity to write a comic novel about teenagers with eating disorders, but Thomas executes it brilliantly . . . It's Thomas' boldness, as well as her writing-every sentence seems painstakingly constructed-that make Oligarchy such a remarkable novel. It's brash, bizarre and original, an unflinching look at a group of young women who have become 'hungry ghosts, flickering on the edge of this world.' --Michael Schaub, NPR

In this delicious Gothic set in a British boarding school, the daughter of a massively rich Russian finds herself menaced equally by Instagram, an anorexia epidemic, and a spectral ancestor whose haunting portraits seem to watch her every move. --O, The Oprah Magazine

Oligarchy uses the familiar phenomena of adolescent copycatting and boarding-school insularity to cannily-and eerily-create a world that feels women-focused but proves to be the reverse . . . Steering [her] protagonists toward liberation, [Thomas] seem[s] to suggest that an honest reckoning with misogyny might produce not only solidarity, but also change. --Lily Meyer, The Atlantic

Scarlett Thomas, a British writer who excels at delivering novels about difficult subjects, turns her brilliant, incisive gaze to a boarding school in Oligarchy . . . A strange but urgent glimpse into society's often conflicting expectations of girls. --Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post

Thomas has a perfectly pitched ear for human cruelty and self-delusion--one man has 'the eyes of a lifeguard who lets people drown'--and all the wild tortures young girls subject themselves to just to feel pretty in the world. --Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

Oligarchy is dark and gothic and hilarious and so sharp on the sentence level I can feel my mind waking up when I read it. It's set at an English boarding school, where a group of adolescent girls take on anorexia as a sort of group project (groomed in this, we will learn, by sinister forces) . . . It's pure aesthetic pleasure to live in these pages too, because Thomas allows these girls their full intelligence . . . There's a piercing clarity to the vision here. It's the kind of seeing that only art makes possible. --Clare Beams, Bustle

This is a weird, twisty book, and anyone familiar with Thomas' oeuvre will expect the kind of dark humor that is only possible from a writer of profound compassion. Strong stuff. Another strange delight from one of the United Kingdom's most interesting authors. --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)