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A Novel

List Price: $26.00

ON SALE: January 14, 2020 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.25, 208 pages | ISBN 9781640093065
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From the author of The Seed Collectors comes a darkly comic take on power, privilege, and the pressure put on young women to fit in—and be thin—at their all-girls boarding school

It’s already the second week of term when Natasha, the daughter of a Russian oligarch, arrives at a vast English country house for her first day of boarding school. She soon discovers that the headmaster gives special treatment to the skinniest girls, and Natasha finds herself thrown into the school’s unfamiliar, moneyed world of fierce pecking orders, eating disorders, and Instagram angst. When her friend Bianca mysteriously vanishes, the world of the school gets ever darker and stranger.

The halls echo with the story of Princess Augusta, the White Lady whose portraits—featuring a hypnotizing black diamond—hang everywhere. She fell in love with a commoner and drowned herself in the lake, and her ghost is said to haunt the dorms. But the girls don’t really know anything about the woman she was, much less anything about each other.

Hilariously dark, Oligarchy is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for the digital age. Scarlett Thomas captures the lives of privileged teenage girls seeking to be loved and accepted in all their triviality and magnitude. With the help of her diet-obsessed classmates, Tash must try to stay alive—and sane—while she uncovers what’s really going on.

About Scarlett Thomas

SCARLETT THOMAS was born in London in 1972. Her other novels include The Seed CollectorsPopCoThe End of Mr. Y, which was long-listed for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 2007; and Our Tragic Universe. She teaches creative writing at the University of Kent.


Praise for The Seed Collectors

Named a best summer read by BuzzFeed and Good Housekeeping

“Thomas has a gift for interior monologues that flow steadily and easily, carrying you through a character’s mental landscape, full of vivid imagery and digressions that flirt with spinning out of control but never quite go too far.” —The New York Times Book Review

The Seed Collectors is entrancing: it’s a sharply observed contemporary novel of real people and real plants and real desire and real hurt, and it’s somehow also one of the sharpest fantasies I’ve encountered. A sour-and-sweet delight.” —Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods

“A smart and witty family drama, taking in secrets, sex, suicide, celebrity and the meaning of life.” —Glamour

“Always original . . . a mindbending novel of family drama.” —Good Housekeeping

“A weird, wonderful, and often wickedly funny family mini-saga… Bold, charming and inventive, The Seed Collectors will not only please Thomas’s American fans, it may win her new ones as well.” —The Boston Globe

“A searing family saga with dollops of magical realism, The Seed Collectors is an exquisitely nimble novel about self-knowledge, love and self-love, and the many ways we shape our lives.” —Claire Fallon, Huffington Post

The Seed Collectors, is laugh-out-loud funny for pages at a time. As British reviewers noted, it fits securely into the great tradition of the modern British comic novel . . . Thomas is more interested in rubbing words and ideas together and seeing what sparks they throw off than in telling stories that reinforce what we already think and end happily for likeable characters.” —The Millions

“Simultaneously sharply-drawn and dreamlike, often hilarious, The Seed Collectors is a baroque family saga of human fallibility, love, eccentricity, sex, spirituality, and of a lost, legendary, coincidentally lethal route to absolute transcendence. Scarlett Thomas is a splendid novelist.” —William Gibson, author of Neuromancer

“Scarlett Thomas is one of my favorite writers ever and The Seed Collectors might be her best yet. She fuses the comically everyday with a far-out botanical adventure in ways which are brutally funny and profound all at once. Barbed, casually genius, philosophical and intensely readable. A joy.” —Matt Haig, author of The Radleys

“Thomas succeeds in creating a funny yet poignant tale that is as much about yearning for connection as it is about seeking enlightenment. Kudos to her for penning a splendid novel that blends botany, philosophy, and mystery.” —Library Journal, Starred Review

“[A] hyperbolic, raunchy, hilarious immersion in the connected lives of some intensely imperfect people… Thomas is a literary star in the United Kingdom. She should be in the United States, too.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Acclaimed British writer Thomas uses a large cast of dysfunctional characters to explore concepts of connectedness and responsibility. With equal parts family saga, intriguing mystery, and existential foray, this magical tale of love and illumination will keep readers on their toes.” —Booklist

“Ebullient prose, engaging characters, lively imagination, illuminating details — Thomas is an original, and her novel is consistently entertaining.” —Publishers Weekly

“We’d recommend keeping your eyes on this author.” —Bookish

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