One of the more interesting types of novels to have cropped up in recent years is the “novel in which not much happens plot-wise but the narrator is vibes so it’s fine”.
I’m sure it’ll get a snappier name eventually. Proponents of this genre include Elif Batuman’s The Idiot and Either/Or, Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation and, now, Sarah Thankam Mathews’ All This Could Be Different. Mathews’ narrator, the displaced and dryly humorous Sneha, recounts the trials and tribulations of her early 20s as the daughter of Indian parents and someone messily exploring their burgeoning queerness.
The result is a novel that revels in the contradictions and overblown drama of being in that familiar intersection of life where the world sees you as an adult, but you still see yourself being years away from ever actually growing up.
Being a debut, Mathews’ novel doesn’t have the most gleaming polish and requires some good faith from the reader in terms of its barely there plotting, but with a character like Sneha in charge you quickly forget it all and fall charmingly under her spell.
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