Thursday, 27 June 2019

Everything You Ever Wanted by Luiza Sauma


Everything You Ever Wanted by Luiza Sauma
Published in the UK by Penguin today, the 27th June 2019.

2019 New Release Challenge read, a Book with Vegan Characters, and one of my 2019 COYER Summer Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A beautiful new planet
A meaningful new life
Are you ready?

You wake up. You go to work. You don't go outside for twelve hours at a time. You have strategy meetings about how to use hashtags. After work you order expensive drink after expensive drink until you're so blackout drunk you can't remember the circumstances which have led you to waking up in bed with your colleague. The next day you stay in bed until the afternoon, scrolling through your social media feeds and wondering why everyone else seems to be achieving so much. Sometimes you don't get out of bed at all.

Then you hear about Life on Nyx, a programme that allows 100 lucky winners the chance to escape it all, move to another planet and establish a new way of life. One with meaning and purpose. One without Instagram and online dating. There's one caveat: if you go, you can never come back.

But you aren't worried about that.

After all, what on Earth could there possibly be to miss?

Everything You Ever Wanted tells the story of Iris who, on the face of it, has a typical Millennial London lifestyle. Her job title is pretty meaningless and the hours are competitively long, but the pay is good and she's moving up the career ladder - successfully playing the game. She should be happy, but happiness is easier said than experienced and Iris has problems rooted far deeper than her superficial lifestyle will allow her to admit.

I felt strongly for Iris throughout Everything You Ever Wanted. Despite my now living a very different lifestyle to hers, I could understand how easily she had been sucked into what effectively was one constant hangover, psychological as well as physical. This novel is very well observed. It does get a little heavy-handed with its message at times, but I thought the characters and their relationships were utterly convincing. The mother-daughter awkwardness was especially well portrayed.

Life On Nyx is essentially a reality TV show with the hook, and the catch, being that it is set on a distant planet. Contestants can be sent there, but there is absolutely no chance of a return to Earth for the lucky 100. Sauma completely understands the modern predicament - our desire for a simpler and more fulfilling way of life, and our need to be seen to have succeeded in achieving it. For the social media generations nothing truly exists unless one's photo of it has been Liked many times. Life On Nyx offers personal fulfilment with the opportunity for global Like reach. Iris can't resist and I admit I was very tempted by the idea of Life On Nyx for myself, right up to the point where library access was limited to one book per month. Per Month!! How is anyone supposed to manage on that ration?!

Everything You Ever Wanted is a great reflection of contemporary aspirations. It's one of those sharply observed novels which holds up a mirror and demands we see just how daft and meaningless some aspects of our lives have become. Although the stories don't particularly resemble each other, I was reminded of how I felt reading Omnia by Laura Gallego and Individutopia by Joss Sheldon. If you liked either of those, I think you will love Everything You Ever Wanted.

Etsy Find!
by Hattie Boo Designs in
Warrington, England

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Books by Luiza Sauma / Science fiction / Books from Brazil

2 comments:

  1. One book a month? Nope. I'll stay right where I am thank you. lol

    ReplyDelete