By Bronwyn Fisher
An engrossing, page-turning story about an introverted student and the mysterious older woman whose unexpected interest in her sparks an insidious, all-consuming love affair.
Eighteen-year-old Natalie has just arrived for her first year of university in Toronto, leaving her remote, forested hometown for an unfamiliar city. Everyone she encounters seems to know exactly who they are. Chatty, confident Clara from down the hall, who wants to be her friend; intense, determined Rachel from her poetry class, who is going to be a writer. Natalie doesn't know what she wants. She reads advice listicles and watches videos online and thinks about how to fit in, how to really become someone.
Just as she is trying to find her footing, she meets Nora, an older woman who takes an unexpected interest in her. Natalie is drawn magnetically into Nora's orbit. She begins spending more and more of her time off campus at Nora's home, enveloped by the intensity of her feelings and the version of adulthood she imagines Nora leads. Worried about how her floormates will react to news of her relationship with a woman, Natalie explains her absence by inventing a secret boyfriend called Paul; she carefully protects the intimate, sacred adulthood she is building for herself. But when it becomes clear that Nora is lying, too, her secrets begin to take an alarming shape in Natalie's life, even as Natalie tries to look away. What, or who, is Nora hiding?
The Adult is a startlingly gorgeous and perceptive debut novel examining identity, love, insecurity, desire, and deceit.