In 2022, the possibility of a full-time position as an analyst at one of Chicago’s most renowned investment banks draws the starry-eyed ambitions of an unnamed protagonist better within reach. Straight out of college with only loans to her name, she comes to an excruciating realization, however, lurking just underneath the surface: she’s a small-town girl from a fishing town in Maine—lost in the claptrap hustle-and-bustle of urban life. In an attempt to find a new home, this character throws herself into a romantic relationship that quickly results in coercion into nonconsensual sex. In the amorphous predicament, she cannot discern the assailant’s intentions but rationalizes the decision of sticking with him as he begins to gain international acclaim as a movie producer. Lured again by financial stability and prestige, she dares to want something else—but is it too late?
By the end of this story, An Invincible Summer illustrates the complications of a rapidly growing industrialized capitalist country in the 21st century as the narrator struggles to reconcile the potential hard hours of a dead-end job versus trying to maintain romance. Amid struggles with excessive drinking and familial alienation, this character’s widespread relatability reveals the conditions of the modern individual, as well as the depths, and how one balances the light and the dark—now and for the future.