Actress and writer Lena Dunham’s newest book is a serialized, interactive romance novel that will be published on the Vogue website, the magazine announced on Monday.
The first chapter of the book, which is titled Verified Strangers, is already out. “Somewhere between pasta and dessert, Ally decided she was done with dating,” the novel begins.
The book follows Ally, a 32-year-old Angeleno who’s frustrated by the city’s dating scene. “Suddenly, Ally goes from tragic dry spell to juggling relationships like she’s Don Draper, ignoring the job she needs and pissing off the friends she loves,” Dunham writes. And are any of these dudes even worth it?...What does a wealth of men mean if you have no idea what you really want, and no sense of your own worth?”
In a Choose Your Own Adventure–style twist, readers can vote on Vogue’s Instagram page to determine how the novel turns out.
“Find out what Ally does when it rains men (and one woman) and vote on where you want this story to go, in a modern choose-your-own-adventure romance novel, written exclusively for quarantined singletons and the people who love them,” Dunham writes.
Dunham says the inspiration to write a serialized novel came from a well-known 19th-century author. “[Charles] Dickens wrote serial stories through all sorts of public crises, including the London cholera outbreak of 1854,” she explains.
Vogue.com editor Stuart Emmrich says that it’s “the perfect time” to publish Dunham’s book.
“In this unsettling period of isolation and anxiety, the act of communal reading can provide enormous solace,” Emmrich says. “Lena Dunham is one of the most gifted writers we have today, and I am thrilled that she came to Vogue with this idea and thought we were the best partner for this ambitious and inspiring project.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.