Not being a big reader of non-fiction, one of my classmates in college recommended that I read I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley, and I was absolutely charmed by her. Though I couldn’t totally relate to her, her writing was so humourous and down-to-earth that I felt like I knew her. I know Cult Classic isn’t Crosley’s first foray into fiction, but the synopsis drew me in. I wanted to see if those short stories/essays I loved so much could translate into fiction.
One idle weeknight in New York’s Chinatown, our heroine is at a reunion dinner with her former colleagues when she ducks out to buy cigarettes. On the way back, she runs into a former boyfriend. And then another. And…another. Nothing is quite what it seems as the city becomes awash with ghosts of heartbreaks past. What would normally pass for coincidence becomes something far stranger as Lola must contend not only with the viability of her current relationship but the fact that both her best friend and former boss, a magazine editor-turned-mystical-guru, might have an acutely unhealthy investment in the outcome. Memories of the past swirl and converge in ways both comic and eerie, as Lola is forced to decide if she will buy into the tenets of romantic love, change who she is to do it and surrender herself to one very contemporary cult.
Though the writing style was still humourous and witty, there’s something about this world that just didn’t resonate with me. I didn’t relate to any of them one bit, and it really made me feel like I was intellectual enough for this (which is quite possibly the case). Though I didn’t predict how the ultimate plot was going—it was nice to get a plot twist like that—I didn’t really see the point. I found Lola insufferable…and all of her friends too.
A lot of people really like Cult Classic, though, so if you’re into literary fiction (in the traditional sense) or you also enjoy Sloane Crosley’s style, it might resonate with you more than with me. Give it a try, and let me know if there’s something I’m missing.
“I thought perhaps seeing these men might cure me of my addiction to them in the same way I suspected chain-smoking a carton of cigarettes might cure me of ever wanting another.” —Sloane Crosley, Cult Classic
Thank you to Luan Cabral on Unsplash for the featured photo.