From the New York Times bestselling author of A Million Little Pieces and Bright Shiny Morning comes Katerina, James Frey’s highly anticipated new novel set in 1992 Paris and contemporary Los Angeles.
A kiss, a touch. A smile and a beating heart. Love and sex and dreams, art and drugs and the madness of youth. Betrayal and heartbreak, regret and pain, the melancholy of age. Katerina, the explosive new novel by America’s most controversial writer, is a sweeping love story alternating between 1992 Paris and Los Angeles in 2018.
At its center are a young writer and a young model on the verge of fame, both reckless, impulsive, addicted, and deeply in love. Twenty-five years later, the writer is rich, famous, and numb, and he wants to drive his car into a tree, when he receives an anonymous message that draws him back to the life, and possibly the love, he abandoned years prior. Written in the same percussive, propulsive, dazzling, breathtaking style as A Million Little Pieces, Katerina echoes and complements that most controversial of memoirs, and plays with the same issues of fiction and reality that created, nearly destroyed, and then recreated James Frey in the American imagination.
Frey (A Million Little Pieces) crafts an underwhelming fictionalized memoir that follows Jay, a young American writer living in Paris and Los Angeles who is determined to write books that will "burn the world down." The narrative jumps between 1992 Paris and 2017 Los Angeles the 15 years in between, in which Jay achieves his dream of becoming a famous writer, pass unexamined. Looking back on his time in Paris, Jay considers his early ambitions and the love affair that informed his best work. After receiving a Facebook message from his former lover, Jay begins to recollect his debaucherous years in Paris in a series of vignettes that read like poor imitations of Henry Miller, rendered in choppy, disjointed prose that readers of Frey's earlier works will recognize. They may also recognize versions of high-profile incidents from Frey's life when they occur in the novel, such as Jay appearing on a talk show to defend himself after the host accuses him of lying about his first book. While the narrative hinges on Jay's thoughts about writing a great book, it does little to convince the reader that Jay is actually a talented writer. This quixotic novel might make some readers reconsider Frey's legacy, but the story itself will leave most wanting.