'Finding Myself' is a spoof chick-lit novel, in which a woman invites a carefully-selected bunch of her friends onto an obscure, isolated holiday. Her plan is to fuck with their heads and cause all sorts of interesting things to happen, so that she'll then write the whole shebang up as a hip funky novel. Sex is obviously central to her agenda. From the start, her plans are skewed and everything goes horrendously, fatally pair-shaped, yet you're still reading her retrospective account of the experiement - so you know she's prepared to write the whole thing up for profit, whatever may have happened.
A key trick is, you're supposedly reading an annotated, unpublished manuscript. So the book contains hand-penned additions, corrections and commentary over the top of the typed text. Litt oozes this kind of tricksy cleverness - you're weaving through the narrative, aware of the unreliability of the author, rather than following the surface developments.
But ultimately and against my expectations, I didn't enjoy the result. There is much to admire about Toby Litt's writing. He keeps tight rein on complex unfoldings and gives characters believable consistency, while some of his other works, 'Corpsing' and 'Adventures In Capitalism' for example, are brilliant. But 'Finding Myself' is queezily unlikeable.
5Toby Jarvis's Score