Goodreads blurb: On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a young woman snoops through her boyfriend’s phone and makes a startling discovery: he’s an anonymous internet conspiracy theorist, and a popular one at that. Already fluent in internet fakery, irony, and outrage, she’s not exactly shocked by the revelation. Actually, she’s relieved—he was always a little distant—and she plots to end their floundering relationship while on a trip to the Women’s March in DC. But this is only the first in a series of bizarre twists that expose a world whose truths are shaped by online lies.
Suddenly left with no reason to stay in New York and increasingly alienated from her friends and colleagues, our unnamed narrator flees to Berlin, embarking on her own cycles of manipulation in the deceptive spaces of her daily life, from dating apps to expat meetups, open-plan offices to bureaucratic waiting rooms. She begins to think she can’t trust anyone–shouldn’t the feeling be mutual?
This is a very hard book to review, because it is so complex. And I get how that might put people off of it, because there is a line to toe between a book being smart and book trying so hard to be smart that it fails to have any sort of depth at all. Fake Accounts is, in my opinion, a book that tries to be smart and succeeds at being just that. The premise hangs on the hook of our narrator finding out her boyfriend is a conspiracy theorist online, but this book is not really about that.
What it is is a very meta novel about living and pretending online, about the personas we construct online, and how we engage with the internet and our selfhood on it. It’s a satirical and funny critique and outlook on feminism, literature, social media, and generally identity in the digital age. It’s very current and it’s very sharp, and I quite enjoyed it. The narrative voice and style are very wry and dry at times, with a narrator that is unreliable at times, but also incredibly self-aware. The narrator often performs different identities and then explores different themes through them. The book and the narrative itself are also very performative – there’s a chorus of ex-boyfriends, the narrator often breaks the fourth wall, and takes on different stylistic choices as to mock writers. I particularly enjoyed the discussions around white feminism in here and the ways we consume and interact with the constant news cycle we are exposed to.
My one grievance with this is that the style this is written in gets quite tiresome. It took me 10 days to finish this relatively short novel. It requires a lot from the reader, so it gets overwhelming and borderline annoying at times. Also, it felt a bit repetitive in certain moments, which again, I attribute to the way it is written, in an almost frantic style of endless stream of critique.
Overall, I really enjoyed this – it is scathing, it’s smart and funny and I think it will inspire a lot of discourse and be a generally divisive book. Cannot wait to see how everyone likes it!
I would love to hear from you! Sound off in the comments below – do you plan to read this one (or have you already read it)? I would love to know.
In the meantime, happy reading
* Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an e-galley of the novel through Netgalley
* If you want to buy any of the books I talked about, you can use my Bookshop affiliate link if you’re in the USA! You buy a book and support local bookstores, and I get a small commission! Even if you do not want to use my own affiliate link, I would still recommend using Bookshop.org since a lot of independent bookstores are struggling and this is a nice way to help them out. You can even find your favorite local bookstore and support them directly!
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