Perfume & Pain

Perfume & Pain

9781668047170

A controversial LA author attempts to revive her career and finally find true love in this hilarious nod to 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Having recently moved both herself and her formidable perfume bottle collection into a tiny bungalow in Los Angeles, mid-list author Astrid Dahl finds herself back in the Zoom writer’s group she cofounded, Sapphic Scribes, after an incident that leaves her and her career lightly cancelled. But she temporarily forgets all that by throwing herself into a few sexy distractions—like Ivy, a grad student researching 1950s lesbian pulp who smells like metallic orchids, or her new neighbour, Penelope, who smells like patchouli.

Penelope, a painter living off Urban Outfitters settlement money, immediately ingratiates herself in Astrid’s life, bonding with her best friends and family, just as Astrid and Ivy begin to date in person. Astrid feels judged and threatened by Penelope, a responsible older vegan, but also finds her irresistibly sexy. When Astrid receives an unexpected call from her agent with the news that actress and influencer Kat Gold wants to adapt her previous novel for TV, Astrid finally has a chance to resurrect her waning career.

But the pressure causes Astrid’s worst vice to rear its head—the Patricia Highsmith, a blend of Adderall, alcohol, and cigarettes—and results in blackouts and a disturbing series of events. Unapologetically feminine yet ribald, steamy yet hilarious, Anna Dorn has crafted an exquisite homage to the lesbian pulp of yore, reclaiming it for our internet and celebrity-obsessed world. With notes of Southern California citrus and sultry smokiness, Perfume and Pain is a satirical romp through Hollywood and lesbian melodrama.

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Simon & Schuster

2024

Adult Fiction

Modern Fiction and Queer Fiction

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