Look at Me by Jennifer Egan
A Novel

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Synopsis

At the start of this edgy and ambitiously multilayered novel, a fashion model named Charlotte Swenson emerges from a car accident in her Illinois hometown with her face so badly shattered that it takes eighty titanium screws to reassemble it. She returns to New York still beautiful but oddly unrecognizable, a virtual stranger in the world she once effortlessly occupied.

With the surreal authority of a David Lynch, Jennifer Egan threads Charlotte’s narrative with those of other casualties of our infatuation with the image. There’s a deceptively plain teenaged girl embarking on a dangerous secret life, an alcoholic private eye, and an enigmatic stranger who changes names and accents as he prepares an apocalyptic blow against American society. As these narratives inexorably converge, Look at Me becomes a coolly mesmerizing intellectual thriller of identity and imposture.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Jennifer Egan

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Jennifer Egan is the author of The Keep, Look at Me, The Invisible Circus, and the story collection Emerald City. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, GQ, Zoetrope, All-Story, and Ploughshares, and her nonfiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. She lives with her husband and sons in Brooklyn. Visit the Jennifer Egan's official website: www.jenniferegan.com
 
Published December 23, 2009 by Anchor. 545 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Look at Me

Kirkus Reviews

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Young Charlotte becomes sexually obsessed and then involved with a mysterious stranger named Michael West, whose arrival in Rockford coincides over-neatly with Charlotte Swenson’s accident and who seems manufactured from John le Carré spare parts.

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The New York Times

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I was modeling my life.'' In the end, Charlotte returns to Rockford, where her crash is restaged for the Web site's cameras, young Charlotte materializes just in time for her close-up and Egan's maddeningly diffuse narrative -- which also includes a disguised Islamic terrorist, an alcoholic detec...

Sep 23 2001 | Read Full Review of Look at Me: A Novel

The Guardian

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And offsetting Charlotte's coming-of-age, like a berserk memento mori, is the figure of her Uncle Moose – on he lurches, all too mortally, from high-fiving jock pin-up to sandalled, under-medicated prof.

Oct 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Look at Me: A Novel

The Guardian

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There is a very good – and spookily prescient – scene in which the dotcom's CEO explains to Charlotte how her recordings, and those of other "Ordinary People™", will offer paying viewers access to an authenticity they lack in their own lives.

Oct 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Look at Me: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Charlotte (the model, who progresses from horrid to just bearable by the end) and the others come to the same realization: a world ruled by the consumerist values bred by mass production and mass information is "a world constructed from the outside in."

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People

In Egan's second novel characters hawk their private lives on the Internet, and a fashion photographer becomes famous by slashing his models' faces.

Nov 12 2001 | Read Full Review of Look at Me: A Novel

New Zealand Listener

Her novels include Trendy But Casual and, most recently, Rangatira, one of the Listener’s 100 Best Books of 2011.Click here to read our interview with author Jennifer Egan.Click here to read the Book Club discussion about Look at Me.

Apr 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Look at Me: A Novel

Artswrap

Reconstructive facial surgery after a car crash so alters Manhattan model Charlotte that, within the fashion world, where one's look is oneself, she is unrecognizable.

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Artswrap

Reconstructive facial surgery after a car crash so alters Manhattan model Charlotte that, within the fashion world, where one's look is oneself, she is unrecognizable.

| Read Full Review of Look at Me: A Novel

The Blurb

And then they looked away, as if what they had seen were not just unfamiliar, but without possibility.’ The loss of Charlotte’s old face is the loss of her calling card, of ‘what I had to offer to the world where I had spent my life.’ But Charlotte’s possible redemption (and the unfurling of her...

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Reader Rating for Look at Me
60%

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