An exploration of the toxic nature of viral fame and a generation’s dangerous dependence on external validation, Anna Dorn’s debut is as illuminating as the light bouncing off Echo Park Lake, speaking directly to our time in biting detail.
Prue only wants two things: to live without psychotropic medication, and make it as a rap artist. Her life is good on paper but unsatisfying—she’s a lawyer with an easy government job and a nice girlfriend who gets her in to all the right shows. When Prue is introduced to music producer Jax Jameson, they instantly click. Prue joins Jax’s “Kingdom,” a collective of musicians and artists who share Prue’s aesthetic sensibilities and lust for escapism. Soon she’s off her meds, exiting her law practice, and becoming entangled with a suspect, hard-partying crew. The group they form, Shiny AF, is starting to take off and Prue is on the precipice of getting everything she thought she wanted. Life couldn’t possibly be better, or could it?
Praise for Vagablonde
"A novel about dissociation, VAGABLONDE conveys a surprisingly deep emotional journey. With acerbic wit and a keen eye for sensory detail, Dorn perfectly renders banal tragedies, bleary morning afters, and creative dreams both lost and found."
—Catie Disabato, author of THE GHOST NETWORK
"A fantastic novel that feels contemporary in all the right ways. In the world of VAGABLONDE, fame is more important than mental health, good lighting is more important than food, and ‘thriving’ is more important than any mundane obligation. Anna Dorn’s sentences are sharp and addictive, absorbing me completely into this world of music, friendship, and self-interrogation."
—Chelsea Hodson, author of TONIGHT I'M SOMEONE ELSE
"As a Virgo with control issues, I devoured this tale of a Virgo out of control. A provocative exploration of the tenacious narcissism that it takes to #thrive, VAGABLONDE is also a serious inquiry into the ways our blue check verified culture fractures our public and private selves."
—Courtney Maum, Author of COSTALEGRE and TOUCH
"Dorn’s fresh, startling debut tracks the quick rise to fame of a restless L.A. rap artist. Prue Van Teesen, a 30-year-old lawyer and bedroom lyricist, believes the antidepressants she’s taking are cramping her style... Dorn’s voice slices like a serrated knife through a wacked-out world of contemporary music culture, where glittery dreams go viral and die."
—Publishers Weekly ,
"Dorn’s narrative is intoxicating, particularly in its depiction of the existential ennui that’s stemmed from our insatiable consumer culture... Dorn may have written the horror novel we deserve."
—Kirkus Reviews ,
"When readers meet Prue, she’s living a privileged LA life: doing uppers on special occasions, going to shows with her girlfriend at night, and writing freelance legal briefs during the day. Prue is simply biding her time until her rap career, under the pseudonym Vagablonde, can take off... The author is careful to never judge Prue, leaving readers wondering whether the story constitutes satire or is simply a precautionary tale. A memorable meditation on narcissism and fame."
"Anna Dorn writes vivid, striking prose that reinterprets pop culture, the particularities of Southern California, and the complex technology of our human brains. An original, hilarious, and spot on debut."
—Dana Spiotta, author of STONE ARABIA
"Dorn adeptly mines the unique cultural territory of being a Hollywood-adjacent young queer woman in the early 21st century."
—Daphne Sidor, LAMBDA Literary