Miss Thing - Nora Chassler (3 stars)

Miss Thing - Nora Chassler

(Two Ravens)

Nora Chassler’s debut novel marks the arrival of a distinctive new voice onto the Scottish literary scene. Or perhaps that should be ‘voices’ as her novel is littered with first person accounts, ranging from the narration of the two central characters, to written contributions from a large chorus of minor players. Miss Thing charts the development of a bizarre relationship between two misfits who live in the Apthorp building in New York’s Upper West Side. Andromeda Van Zandt takes refuge from her grief at her mother’s recent suicide in prescription drug abuse and shoplifting, while Sam is a struggling writer whose wife has recently booted him out of their loveless marriage.

Through the pair’s diaries, Chassler builds a detailed, insightful, sometimes playfully contradictory portrait of two lost souls. While the novel occasionally feels a bit disjointed, and Andromeda’s precocious wisdom sometimes stretches credibility, this debut is to be admired for the audacity of its central conceit and the overall stylishness of its execution.

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