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Sunday, November 28, 2021

An Acerbic Millennial Intercourse Comedy That Grows Fangs

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A TOUCH OF JEN
By Beth Morgan

When personal residents conduct their lives in public, posing and pleading for our consideration, who can blame us for watching, for liking, for indulging within the considerable provide of their affect? Who amongst us hasn’t stalked a crush on social media — then introduced our girlfriend in on our obsession and let our role-playing fantasies leak into our actuality, disintegrating social boundaries and in the end rending the material of the universe?

That is the relatable conundrum confronted by the central characters of “A Contact of Jen,” a satirical, ferocious, shape-shifting novel from the debut creator Beth Morgan, a present M.F.A. pupil at Brooklyn School. Remy and Alicia are an unglamorous New York couple residing with a pleasant roommate they hate and dealing unfulfilling jobs in meals service. “Actually, all I need is $8,000,” Alicia says. “Eight thousand {dollars} would actually set me up. I may stop the Hungry Goat. I may simply chill for some time.” Alicia is insecure and devoted, whereas Remy is bitter and merciless — a poisonous, codependent mixture. Their dominant widespread curiosity is Remy’s former co-worker Jen, a sexy, New Agey, globe-trotting jewellery designer with freckled breasts and braces who unknowingly performs an outsize position of their intercourse life. Remy has “talked to Alicia many occasions about these grownup braces. They’ve mentioned the spectacular, crazy temerity of a gorgeous particular person like Jen taking such a danger along with her look. She may have executed Invisalign. However no. Now she seems like a scorching shark.”

Once they stumble upon Jen at an Apple Retailer (the place Alicia, who has supplied to put on a photograph of Jen’s face throughout intercourse, meets her for the primary time), all the things they’ve projected onto Jen’s social media presence transfers to her precise particular person, bringing their infatuation into their precise world. They take her up on an off-the-cuff invite to log on in Montauk with some associates and her wealthy, good-looking boyfriend.

Remy doesn’t hassle hiding his want for Jen or his disdain for everybody else, his girlfriend included. Alicia, for her half, makes everybody uncomfortable, touching Jen at each alternative and oversharing trauma: “‘I used to be really’ — and right here Alicia raises a finger as if bragging — ‘one of many youngest bulimic sufferers on the restoration heart! Actually, I disadvantaged myself of so many vitamins throughout my developmental years that my mother thinks my mind was completely broken!’” They exhibit a disregard for norms that feels harmful. If somebody can lock himself within the toilet, scrolling via your Instagram feed and liking week-old photographs when you wait exterior — is there even a restrict to what he would possibly do?

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