A desperate young publicist tries to save her career by turning the charismatic leader of a grungy retreat center into the hot new self-care brand in this "wildly funny, laser-eyed" (Michael Cunningham) debut novel.
Jane Dorner has two modes: PR Jane, twenty-five, chummy, and eager to sell you a feminist vibrator or a self-care/bereavement subscription box; and Actual Jane, twenty-nine, drifting through mediocre workdays and lackluster dates while paralyzed by her crushing mountain of overdue medical bills. When her job performance is called into question, Jane's last-ditch effort to preserve her livelihood and pay off her debt is to land a white whale of a client.
Enter the impossibly gorgeous Cass - whom Jane discovers scrolling through Instagram - and her unassuming husband, Tom - proprietors of a "wellness retreat" based out of a ramshackle country house that may or may not be giving off cult vibes. Suddenly Jane realizes she might have found the one ladder she can climb - if she can convince them that transforming Cass herself into a high-end wellness brand is the key to all three of their futures. Magnetic yet mysterious, Cass is primed to be an influencer: She speaks in a mix of inspirational quotes and Zen koans, eats only zucchini (the most spiritually nourishing vegetable), and has baby-perfect skin. Despite Tom's reticence about selling out, Jane sets out to mold Cass into the kind of guru who can offer inner peace and make your skin glow - all at a hefty price, of course. As Jane reckons with her own long-dormant ambitions, she wonders: Can a person really "do good" for others while profiting off them? And what parts of our selves do we lose when we trade power, influence, and beauty?
Sparklingly plotted, deliciously deadpan, and irresistibly entertaining, The Glow is a razor-sharp sendup of an industry built on the peculiar intersection of money and wellness, where health is a commodity and self-care a luxury.
"A satire both cutting and careful in its approach, The Glow is a triumph."- Elle (Best New Books to Read in Summer 2023)