A stalkee becomes a stalker and starts to understand its attraction in this off-center romance.
Filipacchi (Vapor, 1999, etc.), not wasting time, opens memorably with “Lynn stalked. She had taken up stalking for health reasons, but it was not paying off as handsomely as she had hoped.” Lynn, it turns out, is a New York gallery owner at the top of her game, with artists fighting to get in her space and her eye for the next big thing being widely acknowledged. But, even so, she’s recently lost her desire to do, well, anything with her life. In the midst of her malaise, she’s picked up a stalker, Alan, an accountant described by a friend as “a short, fat, balding man with blue eyes and a few patches of yellow fuzz” who prefers to think of himself as an “admirer.” A convoluted bit of bad logic later, Lynn has decided that a good way to regain her desire is to become a stalker herself (stalkers have to desire something, right?), and so she picks a man at random in the bakery and starts following him. Alan, not exactly the confident sort, becomes insecure about the object of his admiration stalking someone else and so becomes friends with the man (Roland, a Frenchman of exquisite arrogance). And this is just the beginning of Filipacchi’s roundelay of stalking, affairs and sexual one-upmanship that has Lynn pairing off with Roland (but only after she realizes he’s not attracted to her, making him infinitely more attractive) and Alan joining a stalker recovery group only to start dating someone from the sex addict’s group next door. For all the goofiness of her scenarios—and there’s plenty here that’s full-on farcical—Filipacchi delves into her characters, laying out their insecurities with an honesty that gives the story a special resonance.
A surreal comedy of manners that’s also a surprisingly penetrating work of psychological fiction.