A darkly comical literary debut, Worry by Alexander Tanner follows a millennial pushed to the brink by a world of absurdity and her own vacant response to it, in a timely mashup of Ottessa Moshfegh's desensitized characters and Sally Rooney's attention to complex social (de)attachment.

It's 2019, and the world is on the verge of Covid-19, but no one knows it yet. Twenty-eight-year-old Jules is living alone at the end of a once-serious relationship, doom-scrolling mommy-blogger content, and focusing on her anxiety to avoid writing. When her younger sister, Poppy, comes to stay indefinitely, Jules has a new annoyance to fixate on. Jules is the only one who knows that Poppy attempted suicide last year, and with Poppy's lifelong hives flaring up again, Jules is primed to see her sister as a walking problem. Soon, the whole world seems to be spiraling into chaos, with Jules's judgmental mother latching onto online conspiracy theories and Poppy becoming obsessed with her new, three-legged, adopted dog, Amy Klobuchar. Amidst it all, Jules likes to imagine she's the only sane one, and yet sanity begins to feel increasingly like detaching herself from everyone she loves (hates), including Poppy.

Worry is a time capsule of a novel that captures a moment not yet over. The details Tanner infuses in Jules's world are both recognizable and surreal, an uncanny, funhouse mirror of reality. Consuming this novel in a world no longer on the brink of disaster but deep in the abyss of it, readers will find themselves familiar with the chaos, and both startled and touched by Tanner's depiction of it. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

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