Author Jen Silverman, WE PLAY OURSELVES, shares with us her favorite enemies and their stories.
"What is a nemesis but a surface for projection? In my debut novel We Play Ourselves, our protagonist Cass is devoured by her obsession with Tara Jean Slater, a much younger (and far more successful) playwright. We begin the book right after Cass’s relationship with Tara-Jean has catalyzed a career-ending scandal. The thrill of a nemesis is simply this: that the people we love to hate are the people who are showing us something about the ways in which we love and hate ourselves. What we aspire to, what we wish we were, what we feel we’re owed – all becomes evident when you stop to look at who you’ve chosen for a nemesis." -Jen Silverman
A slyly funny, skillfully wrought novel told in the voices of four South Korean girls living at the brutal intersection of class, beauty, and power. Beauty is by turns a destructive force, an impossibly high bar, and an alternate currency.
This book! It is simultaneously a love-letter to the arts, a devastating mediation on what happens when your love for an art outstrips your talent, and a page-turning story about lovers and nemeses.
Hawaii, two women who circle – and then devour – each other, secrets and lies, and Swan Huntley’s trademark wry sense of humor. A delicious, transporting read that blurs the lines between nemesis and self.
The particular surprise of this book is that it sets up a nemesis dynamic (mother and nanny) and then takes a deep dive into questions of class – what it means to outsource intimate labor, the fictions we create about each other (and ourselves!) in order to facilitate that labor on both sides. And then of course there’s the propulsive and horrible central event that happens on the first page…
This book is not strictly about a nemesis, but it is so vast and sweeping, so epic and grand, that questions of self-projection, self-transformation, self-reflection in the other are all folded in as part of a rich and delicious fabric.