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Reena Spaulings

THIS IS A STORY you’ve read before. It follows a narrative arc familiar to anyone who’s consumed Edith Wharton, Jay McInerney, Tama Janowitz, or any of today’s marketable wave of chick lit. The setting is New York and the protagonist is an attractive twenty-something female who follows the trends and parties and love affairs all the way from dead-end nothingness to the toxic, eviscerating flash of superstardom. A line toward the end of the novel provides the best overview: “Reena is repeatedly destroyed and reanimated: She is put to work, drugged, made into an advertising image, fucked, robbed, paid, made to speak, shut up, desired by individuals and abandoned in crowds, erased, rewritten and rehashed. And like a burlesque actor, Reena endlessly survives her treatment.” Orchestrated by the artists’ collective Bernadette Corporation (“150 writers, professional and amateur, have contributed

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