Jet Set Desolate by Andrea Lambert: A totally unbiased review by Katie

by Ruby on January 30, 2012

This guest post is brought to you by Katie, who works with the cashiers. Her wife, Andrea Lambert, is one of our featured Local Authors.

Jet Set DesolateAndrea Lambert’s debut novel, Jet Set Desolate, follows Lena Cosentino through the disco underbelly of millennium-era San Francisco in a sexy, fast-paced read you’ll be too scared to put down. Leaving a trail of men (and the occasional woman) in her wake, Lena fights to keep her head above water amid a frenetic backdrop of wrenching pain and struggle barely masked by the twinkling lights of the disco ball. Although her life seems marked by excess, just a scratch beneath the surface reveals Lena barely holding it together as she attempts to keep her cruel sometimes-ex Jesse at bay while simultaneously managing her bipolar disorder, which is exacerbated by her growing cocaine addiction.

Lena’s troubles may appear to be largely a result of poor choices, but the reader cannot help feeling sympathetic towards this well-written and complex character; indeed, Lena is taken advantage of at nearly every turn, rendering her agency in her own fate nearly moot by the novel’s devastating conclusion.

Jet Set Desolate is as brutal and unrelenting as it is captivating. Andrea Lambert – whom I have never met and am certainly not married to – holds nothing back in her bold and daring entrée into the literary scene.  Sparing no gritty detail for her readers’ comfort, this book captures an unflinching portrait of what happens when the party is over and the harsh fluorescent lights come on after last call, revealing the truth within the sallow faces of the used-up revelers.  At times hard to read due to its intensity (and I am not one who flinches easily,) Jet Set Desolate will leave you feeling slapped – shocked and perhaps pained, yet also refreshed and breathless. Lambert’s confident prose and lyrical descriptions lend beauty to even the most brutal scene, of which there are plenty. The strength of the writing allows the reader to hold on and remain captivated by Lena’s story even as she is dealt a series of horrific blows. The discomfort one feels as one reads this novel is in fact, in itself, a testament to Lambert’s ability as a writer; even as your gut clenches in disgust, you will find your desire to keep reading win out over the urge to put the book down and run for the nearest kitten-and-unicorn farm in an attempt to put your mind back at peace.

An emerging voice in the Los Angeles literary community, Andrea Lambert has made a brave and ultimately successful move by coming out of the gates with such a bold first novel, guaranteeing that her name, and her talent, will not be forgotten. Even  if you don’t live with her.

Jet Set Desolate is available in store only, in our Local Authors’ section.