Knoll’s debut thriller is a dark, cynical psychological comment on our culture of excess and violence.
TifAni FaNelli seems to have it all: an upcoming marriage to a handsome, wealthy financier; a job at a competitive, sexy women’s magazine; and a wardrobe filled with designer names. But buried beneath this surface is a secret past that threatens every day to destroy her success and happiness. As her marriage nears, and she finds herself under even more stress about keeping up appearances, Ani forces herself to participate in a documentary commemorating a violent incident from her high school days, hoping that she might, once and for all, be able to make peace with the past. Knoll’s novel is fragmented and unsure of what tone to take; the first part of the story seems at once superficial but also satirical in its complete obsession with designer name-dropping and diet-worshipping. When Knoll alternates chapters about Ani’s present with flashback chapters, the narrative becomes less commentary and more very depressing movie-of-the-week. The main problem is that Ani, despite the awful things she survives, is not a particularly admirable or interesting character, and she doesn't have the charisma to bring any light to the savage story that unfolds. Even the final suggestion that she will finally break away from trying to be perfect and instead be true to herself lacks punch.
The promise of redemption in the end is not enough to balance the darkness.