Astrid Sees All: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
This “vivid portrait of a seedy, edgy, artsy, and seething New York City that will never exist again” (Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times best-selling author) - the glittering, decadent downtown club scene of the 1980s - follows a smart, vulnerable young woman as she takes a deep dive into her dark side. Essential reading for fans of Sweetbitter, Fleabag, and books by Patti Smith.
New York, 1984: Twenty-two-year-old Phoebe Hayes is a young woman in search of excitement and adventure. But the recent death of her father has so devastated her that her mother wants her to remain home in Baltimore to recover. Phoebe wants to return to New York, not only to chase the glamorous life she so desperately craves but also to confront Ivan, the older man who wronged her.
With her best friend Carmen, she escapes to the East Village, disappearing into an underworld haunted by artists, It Girls, and lost souls trying to party their pain away. Carmen juggles her junkie-poet boyfriend and a sexy painter while, as Astrid the Star Girl, Phoebe tells fortunes in a nightclub and plots her revenge on Ivan. When the intoxicating brew of sex, drugs, and self-destruction leads Phoebe to betray her friend, Carmen disappears, and Phoebe begins an unstoppable descent into darkness.
“A new wave coming-of-age story, Astrid Sees All is a blast from the past” (Stewart O’Nan, author of The Speed Queen) about female friendship, sex, romance, and what it’s like to be a young woman searching for an identity.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 10 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||April 06, 2021|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #236,357 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#649 in Friendship Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#4,789 in Friendship Fiction (Books)
#8,637 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2021
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Cocaine and Korbel champagne charged, hitting the dance floor in the post punk paradise lost music of The Cure, Joy Division and Bauhaus. Searching for the guys who could pull off wearing black eyeliner in the most natural way versus the guys that the eyeliner was wearing them instead.
The world was ours. "We're on the list" everywhere there was a list. If there wasn't a list, it wasn't a place were we wanted to be.
Book: Astrid Sees All
Author: Natalie Standiford
Book Series: Standalone
Recommended For…: women’s literature fans, contemporary readers
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Recommended Age: 18+ (sex, drugs, romance, alcohol, slight gore)
Publisher: Atria Books
Synopsis: New York, 1984: Twenty-two-year-old Phoebe Hayes is a young woman in search of excitement and adventure. But the recent death of her father has so devastated her that her mother wants her to remain home in Baltimore to recover. Phoebe wants to return to New York, not only to chase the glamorous life she so desperately craves but also to confront Ivan, the older man who painfully wronged her.
With her best friend Carmen, she escapes to the East Village, disappearing into an underworld haunted by artists, It Girls, and lost souls trying to party their pain away. Carmen juggles her junkie-poet boyfriend and a sexy painter while, as Astrid the Star Girl, Phoebe tells fortunes in a nightclub and plots her revenge on Ivan.
When the intoxicating brew of sex, drugs, and self-destruction leads Phoebe to betray her friend, Carmen disappears, and Phoebe begins an unstoppable descent into darkness. She may have a chance to save herself—and Carmen, if she can find her—but to do it she must face what’s hiding in the shadows she’s been running from—within her heart and in the dangerous midnight streets.
A love letter to gritty 1980s New York City, Astrid Sees All is an irresistible, original novel about female friendship, sex and romance, and what it’s like to be a young woman searching for an identity.
Review: For the most part this was a great read. The story is compelling and it draws you in immediately. The characters do as well and the interactions between each other is well written. The world building is great too and I really liked how the story flowed.
However, I did feel like there were a lot of topics that could have used some trigger warnings at the beginning of the read. The book was also slow and it felt too slow in a lot of areas. The book, at the end, had a feeling of incompleteness and I felt like there should have been more.
Verdict: It was good, but I needed more.
New grad Phoebe follows her wild college friend Carmen to Manhattan, where the two dive right into drugs, clubs and men. It's a terribly unbalanced friendship, with Carmen firmly in the lead and Phoebe just trying to seem cool enough to tag along. This constantly reminds readers just how young Phoebe is. Carmen, with artistic, wealthy parents and a family apartment in Manhattan, is sheltered from a lot of possible consequences, but that only makes Carmen take bigger, wilder risks. And can anyone really be sheltered from addiction or heartbreak?
Phoebe should be reeling from her father's recent death, but instead her insistence that she is just fine comes through in every action she takes. Again, this shows her youth and makes the decisions she faces more intense. Phoebe is often disconnected from her own emotions, which makes the moments when she can't avoid her feelings so much more dramatic. It's a compelling story, even when Phoebe makes self-destructive decisions.
The eighties club scene is glamorous and gritty by turns, with pretty much endless coke. Eighties music and fashion make the backdrop, but this is an engaging coming-of-age story with a stylish retro aesthetic, not a total nostalgia barrage. (I'm looking at you, Ready Player One.)
As "Astrid the Star Girl", Phoebe lands a gig telling fortunes, through her unique divination method of pulling three movie ticket stubs. This started as a private ritual, but with a fashionable turban the Carmen stole-borrowed for her, it's a niche side act for 1980s nightclubs. This is Phoebe's entrance to a world of glamorous celebs, wild nights, and payment in powder. When she spends her nights as Astrid the Star Girl, Phoebe's forced to discover what she might be besides just Carmen's sidekick.
Astrid Sees All tells not just Phoebe's story, but all about the clubs and drugs and adventure of Manhattan in the eighties. This is a great setting, but telling so many stories leads to the kind of overfull and meandering plot that gets novels labeled that backhanded "ambitious." There's just so much crammed in, including a storyline about missing girls in the village. I thought the constant references to the Missing posters were heavy-handed reminders of all the dangers awaiting young girls in Manhattan, and I was totally unprepared for the resolution of that plot. Actually, that sums up my feelings on most of the book. Whenever I thought something was leaning too heavy-handedly symbolic, there was a dramatic, surprising twist.
Readers who enjoyed novels like Everybody Rise and Sweetbitter will enjoy this coming-of-age story about gritty and exciting club nights.
Astrid Sees All is by Natalie Standiford and will be published by Atria Books on April 6, 2021.