Cleopatra and Frankenstien - Coco Mellors
I put off picking this up. I was an idiot. Cleo and Frank are star crossed superbly drawn characters. Set in New York, full of food and love and art and people trying and failing and trying again. I loved it. I want a sugar glider. I want to move to their apartment. Did I cry? Yes, of course I did. Do I wish I could change the ending? Maybe, but that is what makes it so good.
From the back: New York is slipping from Cleo’s grasp. Sure, she’s at a different party every other night, but she barely knows anyone. Her student visa is running out, and she doesn’t even have money for cigarettes. But then she meets Frank. Twenty years older, Frank's life is full of all the success and excess that Cleo's lacks. He offers her the chance to be happy, the freedom to paint and the opportunity to apply for a green card. She offers him a life imbued with beauty and art - and, hopefully, a reason to cut back on his drinking. He is everything she needs right now. Cleo and Frank run head-first into a romance that neither of them can quite keep up with. It reshapes their lives and the lives of those around them, whether that’s Cleo's best friend struggling to embrace his gender identity in the wake of her marriage or Frank's financially dependent sister arranging sugar-daddy dates after being cut off. Ultimately, this chance meeting between two strangers outside of a New Year’s Eve party changes everything, for better or worse. Cleopatra and Frankenstein is an astounding and painfully relatable debut novel about the spontaneous decisions that shape our entire lives and those imperfect relationships born of unexpectedly perfect evenings.