Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Release Spotlight: The Stylist

The Stylist by Cai Emmons

Hayden is a hair stylist in Hoboken, NY. Fitted with too much responsibility as a young girl, her mother’s sudden death leaves Hayden struggling to reconcile grief, loss, blame, and guilt. She cuts ties with her family and drops out of classes at Harvard to focus on hair and its power to create an identity for the wearer.

When criticized by her father for her choice of career and its shallow unimportance, Hayden explains, “I help people transform themselves. I help women to be who they want to be.”

The act of deconstruction and then reclamation of one’s identity is the overarching theme. For Hayden, it takes the form of decisively cutting ties to education, wealth, and family. She moves to a dilapidated apartment in humble Hoboken where she finds contentment transforming others through hair and knowing that her life is her own.

For Hayden’s friend and fellow hair stylist, Emory, the choice lies in surgery and gender. Wrestling with his sense of self and its physical manifestation, Emory’s search for identity affords the book insightful dialogue and complements Hayden’s self-discovery. Their friendship enables and empowers each to become more fully and honestly whole.

Cai Emmons creates dynamic characters that mold and change without compromising their integrity. Her attention to detail drives the story forward and keeps the reader engaged. Emmons’s experience as a screenwriter and playwright is evident in the way she seems to set the stage, introduce the actors and then share with the reader as the story unfolds.

An unpredictable tale of finding and forming identity, The Stylist and its characters linger after the last page.

Review by Adriel Gorsuch, Indigo Editing, LLC

ISBN: 978-0060898953
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pub. Date: October 2007
Paperback, $13.95

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