web site hit counter We Wish You Luck - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

We Wish You Luck

Availability: Ready to download

An exhilarating novel about a group of students who take revenge on a wunderkind professor after she destroys one of their own—a story of collective drive to create, sabotage, and ultimately, to love. It doesn't take long for the students on Fielding campus to become obsessed with Hannah, Leslie and Jimmy. The three graduate students are mysterious, inaccessible, and br An exhilarating novel about a group of students who take revenge on a wunderkind professor after she destroys one of their own—a story of collective drive to create, sabotage, and ultimately, to love. It doesn't take long for the students on Fielding campus to become obsessed with Hannah, Leslie and Jimmy. The three graduate students are mysterious, inaccessible, and brilliant. Leslie, glamorous and brash, has declared that she wants to write erotica and make millions. Hannah is quietly confident, loyal, elegantly beautiful, and the person they all want to be; and Jimmy is a haunted genius with no past. After Simone—young, bestselling author and erstwhile model—shows up as a visiting professor, and after everything that happened with her, the trio only become more notorious. Love. Death. Revenge. These age-old tropes come to life as the semesters unfold. The threesome came to study writing, to be writers, and this is the story they've woven together: of friendship and passion, of competition and envy, of creativity as life and death. Now, they submit this story, We Wish You Luck, for your reading pleasure.


Compare

An exhilarating novel about a group of students who take revenge on a wunderkind professor after she destroys one of their own—a story of collective drive to create, sabotage, and ultimately, to love. It doesn't take long for the students on Fielding campus to become obsessed with Hannah, Leslie and Jimmy. The three graduate students are mysterious, inaccessible, and br An exhilarating novel about a group of students who take revenge on a wunderkind professor after she destroys one of their own—a story of collective drive to create, sabotage, and ultimately, to love. It doesn't take long for the students on Fielding campus to become obsessed with Hannah, Leslie and Jimmy. The three graduate students are mysterious, inaccessible, and brilliant. Leslie, glamorous and brash, has declared that she wants to write erotica and make millions. Hannah is quietly confident, loyal, elegantly beautiful, and the person they all want to be; and Jimmy is a haunted genius with no past. After Simone—young, bestselling author and erstwhile model—shows up as a visiting professor, and after everything that happened with her, the trio only become more notorious. Love. Death. Revenge. These age-old tropes come to life as the semesters unfold. The threesome came to study writing, to be writers, and this is the story they've woven together: of friendship and passion, of competition and envy, of creativity as life and death. Now, they submit this story, We Wish You Luck, for your reading pleasure.

30 review for We Wish You Luck

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    PRETENTIOUS, SLOW, BORING... I had great enthusiasm when I won this book. I want to thank the author, Riverhead Books and Goodreads for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I can see why some readers love this book, so, I may be an outlier. I really struggled to read this, putting it aside at 40 pages after multiple attempts to read it. I picked it up a few weeks later and read to page 81 and chose to abandon it. I have been in a few writing groups and found one PRETENTIOUS, SLOW, BORING... I had great enthusiasm when I won this book. I want to thank the author, Riverhead Books and Goodreads for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I can see why some readers love this book, so, I may be an outlier. I really struggled to read this, putting it aside at 40 pages after multiple attempts to read it. I picked it up a few weeks later and read to page 81 and chose to abandon it. I have been in a few writing groups and found one particularly to be very toxic, such as the one presented here. There are several extreme personalities with a level of competitiveness that borders on obnoxious, which was pretty accurate. The biggest problem in this story is that there are over twenty characters mentioned and I don't see how their introduction is meaningful (realizing I didn't finish the story) and I had trouble keeping them straight in my mind. I considered going through and reading the lengthy introduction still going strong at page 81, a second time to jot each person and their related history, but seeing as the blurb focused on only three people, I didn't feel compelled to invest my time in doing. According to another reviewer who abandoned the story at around page 150, the introduction continued to significantly page 100! Though Ms. Zancan is an senior editor at Henry Holt Publishers, unfortunately, I didn't see her skill set translating in her own writing. Thus, while the writing was trying to be conversational, because of her writing some sentences were written so that they didn't flow, this reader had to pause and reread sentences to make sure that she understood what was said and its context. Additionally, the narrative shifted in perspective (sorry, I can't recall which does what), which made context even more challenging. I kept wanting to raise my hand to ask the narrator a clarifying question because I was a bit confused. Editing should have been a greater focus by the publisher, since I read the final copy, I wondered about why a few things mainly to do with the narrative perspective remained as well as a few misspelled words, wrong verb tense, etc. This story meandered and I found the characters more like caricatures than real. The manner of presentation made the most characters seem flat and a few so narcissistic that I didn't care what happened or why. This was the key for abandoning the book. I felt like I was at a party and stuck with the person everyone avoids because they are too opinionated, tell long stories that seem to have no point or value. This could have been a better short story or novella in my opinion. I have read debuts that were stunning (and some that were not), since this is the second novel by this author and I have no hope of seeing improvement. Frankly, I am sorry to say that I wasn't impressed. Of course, this is only one opinion, I didn't finish the story, so please incorporate this in consideration of pursuing a copy for your own reading pleasure.

  2. 5 out of 5

    lucky little cat

    A tell-all that only tells some is doomed from the start. It was a clear and uneventful night This overly dignified account of minor scandal in a tony Vermont-based MFA program should have been edited down to a short story. As it is, the narrative drags woefully, and the author is reduced to portentously reminding readers that a Big Bad Thing really will happen by and by. It's a helluva weak way to power a story arc. Part of this pacing problem is the crowd of minor characters who overwhelm the s A tell-all that only tells some is doomed from the start. It was a clear and uneventful night This overly dignified account of minor scandal in a tony Vermont-based MFA program should have been edited down to a short story. As it is, the narrative drags woefully, and the author is reduced to portentously reminding readers that a Big Bad Thing really will happen by and by. It's a helluva weak way to power a story arc. Part of this pacing problem is the crowd of minor characters who overwhelm the slender plot. Yes, it's hilarious that Bridget Jameson splashed a glass of milk over Jamie Brigham "when he told her that her fiction read like fiction." But then we get relentless regular updates on these characters and five (or six) other WASPy MFA nerds whose personalities are so similar that keeping their names straight is pointless. And downright unrewarding. Mostly the novel's a reminder of the old truism, In this case, that means you get to the end of the book and go "That's it?!" p.s. The collective-pronoun "we" used for the narrator is creepy, distracting, and belongs in a much more dramatic story. For example, Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily." p.p.s. I'll always be justifiably leery of the Millions' reading lists after this. After all, the goal of a bookstore is to sell books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    At first, I was enamored with the writing style and excited for a story that would immediately grip me. From the first few pages, I thought I had found a book that would make me finish it in a few nights. But that promise didn't fulfill itself. While the writing is quite beautiful, with surprising word choices and moments of grace, it does get a bit tiring. The story is told by a collective "we" made up of MFA writing students, and after awhile it seems as if the writing style is just their over At first, I was enamored with the writing style and excited for a story that would immediately grip me. From the first few pages, I thought I had found a book that would make me finish it in a few nights. But that promise didn't fulfill itself. While the writing is quite beautiful, with surprising word choices and moments of grace, it does get a bit tiring. The story is told by a collective "we" made up of MFA writing students, and after awhile it seems as if the writing style is just their overblown prose, them attempting to make something out of nothing. The diction that I first found intriguing grew tiring, especially after reading a sentence that compares someone's silk dress to the color of a head wound.. which doesn't sound as cool or poetic as one might think. The characters, who are introduced with reverence and care, turned into caricatures as I read on. They seem like overblown personalities that one might find in any MFA program, and the reverence with which our narrator held them in seemed so silly to me, an outsider. The entire point of this book is to make you as fascinated with three characters as the narrator is, but I never got there. Instead, I felt that I was reading a drawn-out story about almost nothing—a slight against one individual gone wrong, and a plot for revenge that really didn't pan out to be as exciting and life-changing as the narrator makes it out to be. This could have been an interesting short story, but I'm not sure there is enough to warrant a novel. I found myself 75% through and still wondering if anything was ever going to happen. This is a drawn-out character study, and if that sounds intriguing to you, then I'd give this one a shot. I can understand why some readers might be more fascinated with its subjects than I. The writing is good, if a little over-wrought at times, and if you connect more with the characters, I think this would be a more interesting read. Just not for me. I would also like to say the marketing of this book as one about revenge and sabotage... I just find that misleading. The revenge and sabotage only comes to the forefront in the last 20% of the book, and it is mainly a character study, that hides its love under the surface. Be forewarned. Thank you to Riverhead and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced digital copy. :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne thebookblondie

    We Wish You Luck by Caroline Zancan (#112 in 2019)⁣ Thank you to Riverhead Books for my gifted copy. Check this one out 1/14/2020! ⁣ The first thing that makes this book unique is the narrator's perspective... or should I say narrators' perspective. It's told from the point of view of a GROUP of MFA students at a fictional college called Fielding. The group-narrator, a limited omniscient narrator, tells the story of Hannah, Leslie, and Jimmy, three of the MFA students who have very distinct person We Wish You Luck by Caroline Zancan (#112 in 2019)⁣ Thank you to Riverhead Books for my gifted copy. Check this one out 1/14/2020! ⁣ The first thing that makes this book unique is the narrator's perspective... or should I say narrators' perspective. It's told from the point of view of a GROUP of MFA students at a fictional college called Fielding. The group-narrator, a limited omniscient narrator, tells the story of Hannah, Leslie, and Jimmy, three of the MFA students who have very distinct personalities. Each of these students, like all the students at Fielding, has the goal of becoming an acclaimed writer. All seems to be running smoothly until a new guest professor, Simone, a young, bestselling author shows up to Fielding. The narrator hints that "something" bad happened... but doesn't say what. We can infer, however, that whatever "happens" has something to do with Simone and her bullying nature. ⁣ ⁣ Initially, I figured it would be a bit of a slow burn. "A bit" is an understatement. Out of 310 pages, we find out "what happened" on page 138... and then the students seek revenge. We don't find out what that revenge is until page 293. At first, I was frustrated with the amount of character development and unnecessary details of the ancillary characters because I genuinely wanted to get to the meat and potatoes of this story. I actually was ready to DNF this book, but I persisted because the writing was so well done. Zancan has such a great grasp on language and really draws you in. As much as I was ready to put this book to the side, I simply couldn't! I needed to know "what happened." Between pages 138 and 293, I was genuinely captivated, and I'm very glad I kept going.⁣ ⁣ I know that some of my book friends will argue that a book with a burn that slow isn't for them, and I completely understand that. If you don't mind a slow burn, check this one out. The ending had me nodding my head in full agreement going, "yessssss." 3 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

  5. 4 out of 5

    Loretta Gaffney

    I need to stop falling for the "this is like the Secret History" bait. I need to stop falling for the "this is like the Secret History" bait.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    DNF at 80% I was excited by the comparison to The Secret History, but sadly this never managed to pull me. There were a lot of clever turns of phrase and acute observations about writers/writing, but I just couldn't muster any sympathy for the characters and the plot felt too thin to hold my interest to the very end. Ah well. DNF at 80% I was excited by the comparison to The Secret History, but sadly this never managed to pull me. There were a lot of clever turns of phrase and acute observations about writers/writing, but I just couldn't muster any sympathy for the characters and the plot felt too thin to hold my interest to the very end. Ah well.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelves

    Thanks to Riverhead Books for an advanced copy of this book. This novel took me completely by surprise! I knew nothing about the author going into it, but I picked it up because I love campus novels and Susie at Novel Visits liked it. The writing is out of this world…Zancan’s commentary on the social hierarchy of the MFA students is perfection and her introductions of each new player in the story make you feel like you know the depths of their psyches from just a few paragraphs. The story is told Thanks to Riverhead Books for an advanced copy of this book. This novel took me completely by surprise! I knew nothing about the author going into it, but I picked it up because I love campus novels and Susie at Novel Visits liked it. The writing is out of this world…Zancan’s commentary on the social hierarchy of the MFA students is perfection and her introductions of each new player in the story make you feel like you know the depths of their psyches from just a few paragraphs. The story is told via a collective narrator (“the class” minus Hannah, Leslie, and Jimmy, the 3 main players in this story), which gives it a gossipy feel that I loved and allows for intriguing speculation about the characters’ motives. There is a sense of foreboding throughout the whole book…Zancan makes you feel the stakes in even the most mundane interactions and you just know that something is going to explode. Zancan’s is the kind of writing (and this is the kind of book) you want to savor and need to take your time with to fully internalize (I had to stop occasionally and re-read some sentences to make sure I got them), but it’s so worth it! It reminded me of The Other’s Gold (my review) in this way and the simmering dynamics between the MFA classmates reminded me of The Ensemble by Aja Gabel (my review). 5 stars and I suspect this will be Zancan’s breakout novel! Visit https://www.sarahsbookshelves.com for more reviews.

  8. 4 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    ----------------AUTHOR INTERVIEW---------------- 9/1/20 I had the amazing chance to talk to the author as well, if you're interested you can check out the link! :) 19/12/19 This was so ridiculously good, like what even?! I honestly thoroughly enjoyed this book!! Full review to come :) 16/12/19 Yeeey thank you Riverhead Books for gifting me a copy of this book!! :D I just starting reading it and I've been enjoying getting to know the characters, gaah - my first campus novel!! You can find me on Youtube | ----------------AUTHOR INTERVIEW---------------- 9/1/20 I had the amazing chance to talk to the author as well, if you're interested you can check out the link! :) 19/12/19 This was so ridiculously good, like what even?! I honestly thoroughly enjoyed this book!! Full review to come :) 16/12/19 Yeeey thank you Riverhead Books for gifting me a copy of this book!! :D I just starting reading it and I've been enjoying getting to know the characters, gaah - my first campus novel!! You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Prawdzik

    Uggg, dnf. I REALLY wanted to like this. The writing was good but it was just so damn boring.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Told through a collective voice, this is a slow-burn story that is a telling of a story of revenge. It's the first residency for a class of MFA writing students at a small college in Vermont (think: Bennington). Everyone is feeling one another out, making choices about who they'd be connecting with over the course of these residencies. But there's one new teacher, an ingenue, who immediately commands everyone's attention. As the story goes, Simone -- this new teacher -- tore apart one of the new Told through a collective voice, this is a slow-burn story that is a telling of a story of revenge. It's the first residency for a class of MFA writing students at a small college in Vermont (think: Bennington). Everyone is feeling one another out, making choices about who they'd be connecting with over the course of these residencies. But there's one new teacher, an ingenue, who immediately commands everyone's attention. As the story goes, Simone -- this new teacher -- tore apart one of the new students' writing to the point he was crying. That he felt he could do no good. It was a brutal critique that eventually led to Jimmy doing something drastic. . . that brought about his fellow MFA peers to seek revenge upon Simone and unravel the truth of her "genius." This book takes a while to get to what's going on, but Zancan's writing is immersive, atmospheric, and easy to stick with. Interestingly, this is the second MFA-set book I've read this year, and it, too, is a clever take down of the systems and privilege within such programs. It's a take down of the academicification of creative writing and a sharp critique about the ideals of good, worthy story telling. Stick with this one and you'll be rewarded with a revenge that is clever and downright enjoyable.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    I listened to the audiobook, and the entire thing felt like someone was telling me a story and barely taking a breath between sentences. I just wanted to tell the narrator to shut up (it’s the material, not the narrator herself). When I initially read the description I was kind of psyched because I like these sorts of books, but this one just didn’t grab or hold me beyond my being mildly curious what actually happened at the end. Unfortunately, the end didn’t merit me slogging through the rest.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hesper

    I enjoyed the idea of We Wish You Luck, but I feel like the main characters never developed to the full potential. Zancan's writing is very endearing though, which is the only reason I was able to finish it in one day. The plot was flowing and enthralling, and a adroitly written intellectual exploration, but the characters were to dry for me. I enjoyed the idea of We Wish You Luck, but I feel like the main characters never developed to the full potential. Zancan's writing is very endearing though, which is the only reason I was able to finish it in one day. The plot was flowing and enthralling, and a adroitly written intellectual exploration, but the characters were to dry for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tess

    WE WISH YOU LUCK is unlike anything I have ever read. Written from the point of view of a collective group of students in an MFA program, the novel is stirring, enveloping, and breathtaking. Zancan's way with words is so special, and her writing about writers (and what they might write about) is both funny and awe inspiring. In the book, the class the story focuses on writes about an incident that shapes their time at the fictional college. Two students band together to take down a professor who WE WISH YOU LUCK is unlike anything I have ever read. Written from the point of view of a collective group of students in an MFA program, the novel is stirring, enveloping, and breathtaking. Zancan's way with words is so special, and her writing about writers (and what they might write about) is both funny and awe inspiring. In the book, the class the story focuses on writes about an incident that shapes their time at the fictional college. Two students band together to take down a professor who has abused her privilege by bullying a student to dire consequences. Zancan's take on the story reads like a thriller, though this seemingly ordinary story on the outside could easily happen on any college campus. The novel is surprising with unexpected turns, and character deep dives. Using the royal We as the narrator of the entire book was so creative, and makes the reader feel like they are a part of the class, reliving their days on campus along with the characters. It was an inspired choice by Zancan, and really makes the novel something special. Some of the sentences are truly heartbreaking, and I found the book very touching. It is beautiful and very much worthy of a read, and all the praise I'm sure it will receive.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe

    This book first caught my attention because it is written from the point of view of a group of students. I thought that was such an interesting idea and I was right! I loved the idea that there were so many narrators, and because I work at a college, I loved that it was the setting here. The book is about three MFA students who are each unique in their own way. They all want to become a famous writer and everything is fine until an author, Simone, comes to Fielding. When Simone destroys a student This book first caught my attention because it is written from the point of view of a group of students. I thought that was such an interesting idea and I was right! I loved the idea that there were so many narrators, and because I work at a college, I loved that it was the setting here. The book is about three MFA students who are each unique in their own way. They all want to become a famous writer and everything is fine until an author, Simone, comes to Fielding. When Simone destroys a students writing, others want revenge on her and to find out the truth about who she really is. The problem was, the book took a long time to get to this point and was building and building without actually giving any information. What I liked about this book was the writing was wonderful. It was very descriptive and interesting and I enjoyed the way the characters were developed. What I didn’t like about this book is that it was pretty slow. There is a lot of character development but not a lot of plot. I usually like a faster-paced book, but that’s just a preference. It was more of narration instead of a story, and that made this book really lag for me. In the end, I would probably give it 3 stars. Thanks so much to Netgally and Riverhead Books for this ARC!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beth M.

    I picked this one up (look at me using my local public library!) after hearing @theartisangeek rave about it and watching her fantastic interview with author Caroline Zancan over on YouTube. Then Belletrist announced it as their February pick. You can’t go wrong with any of these recommendations! We Wish You Luck follows a cohort of MFA students over three sessions of their low-residency program. Each June and January they meet face-to-face on campus for an intensive period of workshopping and le I picked this one up (look at me using my local public library!) after hearing @theartisangeek rave about it and watching her fantastic interview with author Caroline Zancan over on YouTube. Then Belletrist announced it as their February pick. You can’t go wrong with any of these recommendations! We Wish You Luck follows a cohort of MFA students over three sessions of their low-residency program. Each June and January they meet face-to-face on campus for an intensive period of workshopping and lectures. The story is told in the voice of the rarely used communal “we” by the entire MFA class, but focuses on three main characters: Hannah, a proper and poised young writer; Leslie, a wild card who says what she means and means what she says; and Jimmy, a quiet, skillful poet with a presumably dark, hidden past. When a new professor arrives on campus, a series of unforgivable and tragic events are set into motion — events the group will never forget. In this novel Zancan displays some of the most sharp, clean writing I’ve read in quite some time! Her experience both writing and editing has clearly led to a mastery of the craft. This one is a slow burn that will leave you wanting more. And the last 20-30 pages hooked me completely. Ugh! 💔 Definitely put this one on your list if it’s not already. I’m also interested to check out Zancan’s first novel, Local Girls!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Don

    Trite junk. Just because you invoke David Foster Wallace's name over and over again doesn't mean it provides some kind of transitory property to your junk. This is about an MFA program but the writer doesn't seem to get her novel is the worse example of the kind of junk it pumps out. This plot is stupid and moreover it's told in this framework where she's trying to build it up but I can't manage to care. This is a writer that tries to explain how you should feel, explain the plot, explain the ty Trite junk. Just because you invoke David Foster Wallace's name over and over again doesn't mean it provides some kind of transitory property to your junk. This is about an MFA program but the writer doesn't seem to get her novel is the worse example of the kind of junk it pumps out. This plot is stupid and moreover it's told in this framework where she's trying to build it up but I can't manage to care. This is a writer that tries to explain how you should feel, explain the plot, explain the type of characters that inhabit this world instead of just showing it. Also, the plot feels entirely forced. We have this mean girl professor that these two lit chicks are trying to enact a revenge for their loner, depressive friend that gets taken advantage of and all of it is told by a fellow student who can't stop telling you what an impact this all had on her and the rest of her classmates and hoping you're as shocked when all I want is for this to be over. I wouldn't have finished this book except I listened to it on audiobook, so I just sped it up and let the vapid drivel wash over me as quickly as possible.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

    This is the first book I have truly loved in a long time, and my favorite and many years. It was a reminder that reading is not just a race to the finish, and was one of those rare times where I wanted to revel in the story AND the things it is saying AND the way it is saying them. This book feels both like a montage of everything else I’ve ever loved, and like its own singular entity. I guess I was truly its target audience, since I write, I went to Bennington every fall as a child, and I throw This is the first book I have truly loved in a long time, and my favorite and many years. It was a reminder that reading is not just a race to the finish, and was one of those rare times where I wanted to revel in the story AND the things it is saying AND the way it is saying them. This book feels both like a montage of everything else I’ve ever loved, and like its own singular entity. I guess I was truly its target audience, since I write, I went to Bennington every fall as a child, and I throw my friends a party every year where I pick out a book for each of them and make them guess. But nonetheless, I think that it is perfect. I am so glad it was one of the first books I read this decade.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Manaster

    So. There are few things I adore more than Narratives of Vengeance. There are few things that bore me more thoroughly than Books about Writers and Writing, which (to my taste) so often struggle to rise above self indulgence. The early reviews and deliciously bonkers premise here led me to hope that the former would outweigh the latter. It didn’t. And I’m sad. Despite the moody brilliance on the line level (rarely has an author so effectively captured the zing of reading something that moves you an So. There are few things I adore more than Narratives of Vengeance. There are few things that bore me more thoroughly than Books about Writers and Writing, which (to my taste) so often struggle to rise above self indulgence. The early reviews and deliciously bonkers premise here led me to hope that the former would outweigh the latter. It didn’t. And I’m sad. Despite the moody brilliance on the line level (rarely has an author so effectively captured the zing of reading something that moves you and the quasi-transcendent sense that you’ve written something *absolutely* true) I couldn’t fall in love with this novel—and I really wanted to. Maybe it was my prickliness about the central trio: we hear so much about how amazing Leslie, Hannah, and especially Jimmy are, but see precious little of it on the page. Maybe it was the brilliant send ups of the types of folks you meet in your MFA (and oh my god were these lines and observations ever brilliant) that in aggregate reduced essential characters—who were the collective narrators!—to types. Maybe it was the smallness of the stakes written from a collective consciousness—as if from an old school Greek chorus—that took them for epic. Who knows? Maybe I am still working through my own issues as a recovering MFA student and should seek professional help. Or perhaps my personal bias that writers (myself included. Probably especially) are generally far less interesting than what they write *about* is rearing its ugly head here. Because We Wish You Luck is objectively well written. It’s dark and witty and meticulous and crazy in such a good way. You should 100% read it. I hope you do. I hope you read it and love it for me, and in the way I that wish I could.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Astrid

    I'd say this is a solid, relatively unique, and altogether intriguing dark academia / campus novel. On a campus inspired by Bennington College called Fielding, a group of MFA students tell the story of the program's closest friends: Leslie, Hannah, and Jimmy. Without giving too much away (because the twists are surprising and really excellent to experience) the program's collective voice (using "we" throughout the novel, all told in retrospect) the novel tackles themes of revenge, justice, retri I'd say this is a solid, relatively unique, and altogether intriguing dark academia / campus novel. On a campus inspired by Bennington College called Fielding, a group of MFA students tell the story of the program's closest friends: Leslie, Hannah, and Jimmy. Without giving too much away (because the twists are surprising and really excellent to experience) the program's collective voice (using "we" throughout the novel, all told in retrospect) the novel tackles themes of revenge, justice, retribution and joy. The conclusion is satisfying and the imagery vivid; you really feel like you are on campus with the characters, and for me, it is the experience of the fictional campuses in dark academia that mark my enjoyment of this subgenre. Overall an unexpectedly dark read, and a story in the campus novel sector you won't want to miss.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Trying to decide between 3 and 4 stars... I know I liked this book, and I think maybe I loved it. It was a VERY slow burn for me - I kept reading wondering when I was going to understand what was going on. But the thing is, I think that was the point. I liked what the author was going for: how we treat each other reverberates in ways we never imagined. I also loved the conversation and sentences throughout the book dedicated to the power of the written word. Different, but I liked it?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Collin

    I’m probably going to bump this down to a four stars when I have distance and a good night’s sleep to make me think straight again, but it almost brought me to tears in the final chapter/epilogue, so I think it deserves some high ratings, at least for a day.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sumant Salunke

    I love campus novels almost as much as I love revenge narratives. I went into this with considerable excitement and anticipation, only to find something so laughably prosaic that the only reason this isn’t a 1-star review is the very obvious toil the author took in trying to write something great, which is endearing, when not completely transparent. I got the feeling while reading this novel (I call it that loosely, I wonder if ‘MFA advert’ would be a more apt terminology?) that Caroline Zancan I love campus novels almost as much as I love revenge narratives. I went into this with considerable excitement and anticipation, only to find something so laughably prosaic that the only reason this isn’t a 1-star review is the very obvious toil the author took in trying to write something great, which is endearing, when not completely transparent. I got the feeling while reading this novel (I call it that loosely, I wonder if ‘MFA advert’ would be a more apt terminology?) that Caroline Zancan was much, much more invested in the IDEA of writing and the aggrandisement of creative pursuits than in its execution. Indeed, it’s marvellous to see how enamoured she is by her own profession - at best, it translates into wide-eyed naïveté and wonder; at worst, into an act of self-elevation. I could not take the novel seriously after the first few hundred hackneyed references to how the art of writing is oh-so-lonely, how it is pursued in “dimly lit rooms” (ah, yes, the panacea to writing blocks and bad prose - low wattage bulbs!), how it is an act of rebellion in the face of (gasp!) dreary normalcy. Her writing on this tired topic ranged from the limply lyrical (“true writers are best pinpointed from space, little glowing orbs of desk light under which the typing of keys is the only sound against the hum of empty night”), to the absurdly floral (“our inability to put our own exquisite losses and brutal victories on paper only made us feel more alone”), to the downright WTF-did-I-read-that-right (saying “how much easier it was to win a case” than to write a short story requiring no edits). It reminded me of hipster dudes reading their bad poetry to people at parties in college, who waxed lyrical on the many virtues of the Coen Brothers and David Foster Wallace frequently (both are name-checked in the book, too). The many (seriously, many) references to avoiding exclamation points and sidestepping clichés throughout the novel really underline the hulking consciousness of creating sophisticated, stylish and accomplished literature, befitting an MFA degree. And I agree - the book mostly avoids stepping into overused similes and metaphors. The recourse? Adopting hilariously awful comparisons - shrimp is “the pink of baby-girl nurseries”, red is “a silk dress the colour of a fresh head wound”, or elsewhere, even more riotously, “gash-coloured”. Nitpicking aside, I thought the book was entirely lacking in sensitivity, and was downright cruel at times. Simone, the object of the revenge, abuses her power, plagiarises from a dead student, is a bully, a racist and a snob. But, of course, all of that pales in comparison to what the novel says is her most egregious offence - denying the power of WORDS. How could she?! Elsewhere, rookie writers socialising with publishers at a party are compared to children at fat camps being forced to meet their crushes before they lose weight (seriously, who the hell signed off on this?). The very worst act of cruelty this novel commits, though, floored me - (view spoiler)[ Jimmy’s suicide, after a lifetime of abuse, isolation, depression, growing up in foster homes, loneliness, poverty and uncertainty, is reduced to “an evidence of the limitations of writing and storytelling and the gaps they can bridge and the wounds they can mend”. (hide spoiler)] Seriously. In the face of such spectacular misfires, it seems almost offensive to talk about the formal shortcomings of the novel - the winking references to the Big Bad Thing that is coming, the flaccid, anticlimactic arrival of said Big, Bad Thing (seriously, a branch?), the flat, uninteresting flurry of side characters whose narratives were entirely unexciting and clunky, the usage of “we” as the narratorial voice (perhaps an homage to Jeffrey Eugenides, who is name checked here as a fellow MFA holder) that only results in the further blurring together of anybody who is not a protagonist. Ultimately, this book proves true to me what Elif Batuman wrote about programme fiction, and as I cannot put it better, I quote her: “the torture of walking into a bookshop these days: it’s not that you think the books will all be terrible; it’s that you know they’ll all have a certain degree of competent workmanship, that most will have about three genuinely beautiful or interesting sentences and no really bad ones, that many will have at least one convincing, well-observed character, and that nearly all will be bound up in a story that you can’t bring yourself to care about. All that great writing, trapped in mediocre books! Who, indeed, has time to read them?”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    “I have no patience for people who speak of ennui - my experience was always wonder.” This twisty, ethereal book just blew up my world. It’s somehow both a treatise on how the way we treat each other matters and also a sharp, literary mystery full of zing and perfect light. It’s narrated by a Greek chorus of MFA students that provide the perfect buzz to the background of the dark, redemptive story. I do not even have the words to tell you how fantastic this book is, so I just want you to read it “I have no patience for people who speak of ennui - my experience was always wonder.” This twisty, ethereal book just blew up my world. It’s somehow both a treatise on how the way we treat each other matters and also a sharp, literary mystery full of zing and perfect light. It’s narrated by a Greek chorus of MFA students that provide the perfect buzz to the background of the dark, redemptive story. I do not even have the words to tell you how fantastic this book is, so I just want you to read it for yourselves.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    Meh. Started out intrigued, fizzled about half way through. I listened to the audiobook and there were so many names of students, it was impossible to remember them all. I didn’t feel anything for the characters who ended up being important. Wasn’t for me!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Spencer

    When a blurb on the back of this book claimed it "had a touch of The Secret History" to it, Zancan sort of had me at hello. It was a little meta--a recent MFA graduate writing a story about a group of MFA students, going through a program that I can only assume was similar to Zancan's own--but I didn't mind at all. I love that academia setting, and writers, and writing, that whole process. The book sort of let me experience that vicariously through them. I don't want to spoil either book, but We When a blurb on the back of this book claimed it "had a touch of The Secret History" to it, Zancan sort of had me at hello. It was a little meta--a recent MFA graduate writing a story about a group of MFA students, going through a program that I can only assume was similar to Zancan's own--but I didn't mind at all. I love that academia setting, and writers, and writing, that whole process. The book sort of let me experience that vicariously through them. I don't want to spoil either book, but We Wish You Luck never went as dark as Donna Tartt's The Secret History. In fact, We Wish You Luck never went much of anywhere at all. I say that not as a critique or accusation. Like I said, I liked it. But the suspense in the book felt like it was building towards some grand climactic event. And then there were only 100 pages left. Then 50. Then 25. It never came, at least not sufficient to satisfy the tension leading up to it. For me. Perhaps I should note, The Secret History is one of my favorite books of all time, so Zancan had some big shoes to fill based on my expectations. The two stories were very different, and differently written. Both in a college setting, both with an air of mystery. A more accurate description of their similarity might have a been "a slight hint." There has been some recent backlash against "MFA books," that they are "overwritten," or canned, or all feel the same. None of those criticisms should apply to this book. It was lovely and literary and fun and mysterious, and filled with lots of those little reflective truths about life that I always find delightful. I would highly recommend it in its own right; no comparison to other works necessary.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    I wanted to like this book. The story was interesting enough. How the story was being told was unique. But the length at which things were described lost the point. There were easily chunks I could have skipped that had absolutely no bearing on the plot or even creating a world that mattered. Even understand that the narrators of this book were all people who received their MFA still couldn’t justify the word play for me. I get it. I get what she was doing and I get what she was going for. It ju I wanted to like this book. The story was interesting enough. How the story was being told was unique. But the length at which things were described lost the point. There were easily chunks I could have skipped that had absolutely no bearing on the plot or even creating a world that mattered. Even understand that the narrators of this book were all people who received their MFA still couldn’t justify the word play for me. I get it. I get what she was doing and I get what she was going for. It just wasn’t a fun read for me. It was a chore to get through many of those sections of what ended up being unnecessary. I had to plow through this book so it wasn’t looking over my head.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brenna Rehan

    Thank you to Riverhead Publishing and NetGalley for my ARC! As many others have mentioned, this novel was very well-written. But, in many ways, it fell short of my expectations. Generally speaking, this book has A LOT of background information about MFA courses and the desire to write well. I can see how some people, especially MFA graduates, may find this nostalgic or interesting, but I, frankly, did not. I have a strong hunch the author recently graduated with an MFA, and in a way, is speaking Thank you to Riverhead Publishing and NetGalley for my ARC! As many others have mentioned, this novel was very well-written. But, in many ways, it fell short of my expectations. Generally speaking, this book has A LOT of background information about MFA courses and the desire to write well. I can see how some people, especially MFA graduates, may find this nostalgic or interesting, but I, frankly, did not. I have a strong hunch the author recently graduated with an MFA, and in a way, is speaking to her experience. I had a *very* difficult time finishing this book for this reason. Maybe my biggest issue with this book, however, is the amount of extraneous detail. It was painful. Especially because the narrators, four MFA alumni, speak to the importance of having complete command over the language. They unnecessarily hypothesized the thoughts of fellow classmates when it was absolutely unnecessary and it got old pretty early on. I found the plot interesting, but to be honest, I felt the author was too caught up in the details to really keep my attention. While this book was a miss for me, if you're a writer or an aspiring writer, you may really enjoy this.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gabby

    *2.5* I think my biggest mistake reading this book was going into it expecting a dark academia, when that isn't exactly the case. The characters were engaging at first and the book overall had a good message, but I just struggled to get invested at all. It felt like barely any events happened and the focus was on overly describing all these events and characters, that didn't even lead to a satisfying build up and reveal. While the choice to have the narrator be a collective voice was interesting, *2.5* I think my biggest mistake reading this book was going into it expecting a dark academia, when that isn't exactly the case. The characters were engaging at first and the book overall had a good message, but I just struggled to get invested at all. It felt like barely any events happened and the focus was on overly describing all these events and characters, that didn't even lead to a satisfying build up and reveal. While the choice to have the narrator be a collective voice was interesting, it definitely wasn't something I enjoyed since it ended up feeling impersonal and like I was being distanced from the main action and drama. Potentially if you are a MFA student you could enjoy this more, but I alas, did not. Someone remind me to do research on what a book is actually about before I jump in blindly next time please.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn Crupi

    3.5 As soon as the collective choral narration of an entire MFA class, minus three central students, clicks this book soars. It’s at its best when it’s exploring writing process and purpose. This is for anyone fascinated by MFA writing programs in the US and writing process and craft in general. I loved Zancan’s debut Local Girls and this is an incredibly confident and competent second book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bookedupgirl

    I can’t DNF a book, but I really wish I could. I found this long (despite its actually shortness at 300 pages!), and very boring. I ended up skimming most of it, missing the “main” event completely. I also didn’t care for the writing style, and found the flow quite strange. It pains me to write such a review but this book just wasn’t for me!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.