The Odyssey

Lara Williams

Big news: We already found your summer 2022 reading pick.

- Cosmopolitan

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by The Millions, a Best Book to Read in April by Town & Country and The AV Club, and one of 2022’s Best Beach Reads by Southern Living

“This book is a serious vibe . . . it’s a slyly poignant satire on cruise ships, crappy jobs, and capitalism.” —Cosmopolitan

“Darkly comic existential fiction at its best.” —Culture Whisper (UK)

“Deliciously unpredictable” —Mateo Askaripour, author of Black Buck

“Utterly sharp, slyly humorous . . . Startlingly unique and beautifully written.” —Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face

ISBN

9781638930068

Language

English

Page count

240

Edition

Hardcover

Sale date

April 26, 2022

Dimensions

5.5 x 8.25

About the Book

From the prize-winning author of Supper Club—a debut novel that Vogue called “Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter meets Donna Tartt’s The Secret History”—comes The Odyssey, a fresh twist on the epic journey and an unapologetic takedown of capitalism that will appeal to fans of Melissa Broder and Ottessa Moshfegh.


Ingrid works on a gargantuan luxury cruise liner where she spends her days reorganizing the gift-shop shelves and waiting for long-term guests to drop dead in the aisles. That is, until the day she is selected by the ship’s enigmatic captain and self-appointed lifestyle guru, Keith, for his mentorship program.

Encouraging her to reflect on past mistakes, Keith pushes Ingrid further than she ever thought possible. But it isn’t long before Ingrid’s unwavering devotion forces her to reckon with the dark underbelly of life on the sea, and the surrealist absurdity of work itself.

Reviews

Read if you like: Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation, artificial flavors, avoidant behavior, wondering what a ‘lifestyle’ is and whether you have one.

- Molly Young, The New York Times

Utterly sharp, slyly humorous, and at times devastating in its courageous attempts to make sense of extreme loneliness. The Odyssey is a wildly original dystopian satire about the desire and struggle to forge human connection and the craving for some semblance of progress and order when one’s life has fallen apart. Startlingly unique and beautifully written.

- Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face

Deliciously unpredictable . . . an entertaining examination of work, the lengths we go to feel a sense of belonging, and how difficult it can be to navigate the ever-shifting seas of friendship and love . . . I have never read anything like this, which is a testament to Lara Williams’s craft, as well as her fearlessness in diving into the more absurd, cringeworthy, and downright uncomfortable aspects of life.

- Mateo Askaripour, author of Black Buck

Tantalizing . . . Readers who enjoy Melissa Broder and Ottessa Moshfegh will appreciate this surreal trip through a troubled woman’s psyche.

- Booklist

Takes the reader on a memorable journey.

- Kirkus Reviews

Vivid and compulsive . . . an addictive and intriguingly dark (if not profound) take on an ancient narrative.

- The New Statesman

Big news: We already found your summer 2022 reading pick.

- Cosmopolitan

Couldn’t stop reading . . . Original and intriguing, I’ll be digesting this one for a while.

- Laura Harvey, Copper Dog Books (MA)

An intriguing twist on the epic voyage.

- Margo Grimm Eule, East City Bookshop (DC)

An unflinching and razor-sharp satire exploring consumerism and the monotonous life of a disturbed and directionless woman working aboard a cruise ship. The Odyssey is a bleak and biting ride, with pitch-black humor and a progressively off-kilter protagonist. Reading it is a disorienting experience, with a hallucinogenic feel that becomes increasingly sobering as Ingrid nears closer and closer to her home: both on land, and within herself. Absolutely brilliant.

- Madison Gallup, Northshire Bookstore (VT)

The Odyssey is a rueful antiheroine’s journey full of dynamic absurdity that left me shell-shocked and clamoring for a higher page count. Supper Club catapulted Williams to the top of my (very short) must-read list and The Odyssey cements her place in the echelon. With its propulsive plot and macabre humor, the book is a fantastic send-up (takedown?) of modern life’s knack of leaving us always craving more, more, more. If she keeps this up, I will follow Williams into the bowels of hell. Possibly lower.

- Wesley Minter, Third Place Books (WA)

Perceptive, enigmatic and thought-provoking—I couldn’t put it down. Wonderful!

- Amelia Horgan, author of Lost in Work

The Odyssey Limited Edition Box

To celebrate our first ever book release, we’re giving away one of our custom limited edition THE ODYSSEY boxes on Instagram.