Read an eARC from NetGalley
Content warning: Nosebleeds, vomiting, drug abuse, graphic depiction of surgery, fatphobia
Glitterati takes place in a futuristic world where fashion rules the lives of its elite. Simone is one such denizen, bound by rules until he makes a faux pas that proves to be fashionable. A friendly competition between him and a coworker turns deadly when being in the upper echelon of society isn’t enough.
Fascinating in the precision of its prose, this glamorous tale is full of aesthetic and takes fashion rules to their highest extremes.
I don’t think anyone told Langmead that a protagonist has to be likeable. Simone is vapid, contemptable, and deep under the trance of his high fashion, Glitterati lifestyle. Unlike other stories, he is not one looking to upset the status quo. In fact, the status quo is entirely the appeal of this book. Like a beautiful train wreck, you can’t stop staring, even as the more horrendous elements come to light. For example, I am still disturbed by the free use of medicinal memory erasure.
The aesthetic is futuristic and precise in its language. There’s a lot of care put into the crafting of invented fashion designers, trends, and even the weekly rituals around accepted colors and outfits. With regards to social conventions, there are ways to greet each other, specific rhythms and patterns of speech. It’s so meticulously realized and finely crafted. Not a single element of world-building can exist beyond this book.
The tone can also be cheeky at times. The story takes a sharp turn towards plot when a child appears in Georgie and Simone’s estate and where this cheekiness shines. Because of aforementioned brain washing, the elite have no memories of children, so when the kid shows up, they think it’s a creature not unlike a drunk adult. It’s funny in that way that prevents tears. The commitment to the dehumanization within the society is, again, something I couldn’t tear my eyes away from.
I anticipate this might not be a read for everyone, but I found myself entranced by this deadly world of dramatic fashion.