Jen Silverman - Get Yourself a Nemesis Bookshelf!

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

We Play Ourselves: A Novel By Jen Silverman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399591525
Availability: Not in Stock. Available to Order.
Published: Random House - February 9th, 2021

If I Had Your Face: A Novel By Frances Cha Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593129487
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - April 13th, 2021

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.

Astonish Me (Vintage Contemporaries) By Maggie Shipstead Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345804617
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 6th, 2015

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.

The Goddesses: A Novel By Swan Huntley Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525432333
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - June 26th, 2018

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 Perfect Nanny: A Novel By Leila Slimani, Sam Taylor (Translated by) Cover Image
By Leila Slimani, Sam Taylor (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780143132172
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 9th, 2018

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…

The Queen Of The Night By Alexander Chee Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544925472
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - November 1st, 2016

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.