“A gorgeous book of nerve endings, Rachel B. Glaser’s Paulina & Fran manages to capture the rawness and restlessness of youth, friendship, and artists in the making. She gets to the bone of those quixotic, beautiful years when everything matters, most things hurt, and you have no idea exactly who you are. I’ve never read anything quite like it.” — Christopher Bollen, author of Orient
A story of friendship, art, sex, and curly hair: an audaciously witty debut tracing the pas de deux of lust and love between two young, uncertain, conflicted art students.
At their New England art school, Paulina and Fran both stand apart from the crowd. Paulina is striking and sexually adventurous—a self-proclaimed queen bee with a devastating mean-girl streak. With her gorgeous untamed head of curly hair, Fran is quirky, sweet, and sexually innocent. An aspiring painter whose potential outstrips her confidence, she floats dreamily through criticisms and dance floors alike. On a school trip to Norway, the girls are drawn together, each disarmed by the other’s charisma.
Though their bond is instant and powerful, it’s also wracked by complications. When Fran winds up dating one of Paulina’s ex-boyfriends, an incensed Paulina becomes determined to destroy the couple, creating a rift that will shape their lives well past the halcyon days of art school.
Crackling with bon mots and knowing snapshots of that moment when the carefree cocoon of adolescence opens into the permanent, unknowable future, Paulina & Fran is both a sparkling dance party of a novel, and the debut novel of a writer with rare insight into the complexities of obsession, friendship, and prickly, ever-elusive love.
About the Author
Rachel B. Glaser is the author of the story collection Pee On Water and the poetry collection MOODS. She is a recipient of the McSweeney's Amanda Davis Fiction Award, and her work has appeared in the anthologies 30 Under 30 and New American Stories. Nylon has cited her as one of the "Coolest Female Poets to Know Right Now." She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
“[A] gem of a novel . . .The novel’s mix feels fresh; nearly Gothic in its representation of its doubled heroines and their savage, fervent yearnings but satisfyingly specific in its minute, deliciously petty details.” — New York Times Book Review
“A funny, fast-paced story that follows the post-college life of a drifting, obsessive friendship, Paulina & Fran will appeal to everyone from fans of Broad City to Elena Ferrante devotees.” — Huffington Post
“Rachel B. Glaser’s beguiling novel [is] intense and wholly original.” — New York Magazine
“A party in paragraphs that socks you in the mouth when you least expect. I’d pay tuition to this book if it meant I could stay the whole year.” — Amelia Gray, author of Threats and Gutshot
“These are finely detailed, compelling, complex young adults facing archetypical trials: work and art; sex, devotion, obsession and betrayal; the cavernous future; and how to be oneself and be a friend. . . . a glittering, raucous ride and a thoughtful depiction of life: painful and ecstatic.” — Shelf Awareness
“A rare novel that focuses its attention on the difficulties of repairing adult friendships, with a fun setting and a bold cast of characters to lighten the mood.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Uncouth, contemptuous, and terrific fun to read. Glaser thoroughly captures both the desperate intimacy of female friendships and the volatile magnificence of youth.” — Courtney Maum, author of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
“When it comes to the dance-hump mating rituals of art school kids, no one does it better or funnier or with as much stylistic aplomb as Rachel B. Glaser.” — Adam Wilson, author of What's Important Is Feeling and Flatscreen
“This novel is like what a mirror would write if it could type. Rachel B. Glaser has written a wildly funny, sharp, wonderful book that displays the light and dark, the lies and truths, of what it takes to make and keep a friend—without losing sight of oneself.” — Lindsay Hunter, author of Ugly Girls and Daddy's
“Reading Paulina & Fran is like watching a beautiful woman expertly throw knives into a wall. Viciously funny, tender, and sexy all at once, every page full of deft and skewering observations. No one is spared.” — Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody Is Ever Missing
“A gorgeous book of nerve endings, it manages to capture the rawness and restlessness of youth, friendship, and artists in the making. She gets to the bone of those quixotic, beautiful years when everything matters, most things hurt, and you don’t know who you are. I’ve never read anything quite like it.” — Christopher Bollen, author of Orient
“[A] gem of a novel . . . The girls’ relationship veers from attraction to repulsion and back again over the course of the novel, with the narrative shifting effortlessly and convincingly between their respective points of view. Glaser, the author of a book of poems and a collection of stories, is skillful in her depiction of those moments that tell us most about what it’s like to be young and filled to bursting with equal measures of self-aggrandizement and self-loathing. . . . Paulina & Fran is also spot on in its depiction of art school and its recognizable types, with their only half-felt but still somehow meaningful poses. . . . The novel’s mix feels fresh; nearly Gothic in its representation of its doubled heroines and their savage, fervent yearnings but satisfyingly specific in its minute, deliciously petty details.” — New York Times Book Review