Cult Classic

Cult Classic is an inventive, fantastical comic novel with decidedly modern preoccupations, among them wellness, social media and hipster-cool. But Sloane Crosley (I Was Told There'd Be Cake; How Did You Get This Number) simultaneously explores one of fiction's most traditional themes: the trials of romance, which narrator Lola suspects "may be the world's oldest cult."

Lola, who is engaged to glassware artist Boots, works at Radio New York, "a glorified content aggregator," where she's grudgingly "covering the culture instead of creating it." Outside the Chinatown restaurant where she's enjoying one of her regular Friday dinners with former colleagues from a now-defunct magazine, Lola bumps into an ex-boyfriend. The next night at the same restaurant, she bumps into another ex. By her third seemingly random encounter with an ex, Lola knows something's up. But what?

Crosley's second novel, following The Clasp, contains several items on a sci-fi thriller's ingredient list: mind control, ghosts, a feat of physical daring and a race against the clock. (Will Lola get everything sorted out before Boots returns from a trip to San Francisco?) And yet Cult Classic never strays from rom-com territory, with longtime serial dater Lola routinely lamenting her checkered history with dodgy men: "I went out with them anyway, these bouquets of red flags." As ever, Crosley is reliably funny as well as winningly piquant with her characters' observations. Says Lola at one point, "The love lobby is worse than the gun lobby. More misery, more addiction, more heads on spikes." --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

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