Fame and Followers in Constellation, California
Today I want to share about a book that blindsided me, a book I didn’t expect to love, a book that captivated me through to the last sentence.
Followers by Megan Angelo
In the novel Followers, Angelo brings us to Constellation, a city in California founded decades in the future in which all the residents are live-streamed for life. Not only do we learn about Marlow, a young woman from Constellation, but in parallel we get to know an unlikely duo, Floss and Orla, who live together in New York in the present.
Floss above all wants fame, and she will do anything to get what she wants. Orla, a writer, knows what she doesn’t want: the life of her parents back in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless she pines for a boy from home, often while staring at her unfinished book on her laptop screen, stuck until Floss proposes they pair up.
Scheming with Floss does not elevate Orla to her dreams the way it does for Floss. And what becomes of Marlow when she questions a life she has taken for granted, a life on screen with millions of followers?
Followers hooked me. The world Angelo creates is saturated with detail, and the story is perfectly paced, never lagging. I especially appreciate that Angelo makes no attempt to hoodwink or manipulate the reader in weaving her story. (That’s an issue I take with authors such as Gillian Flynn and Taylor Jenkins Reid. I resent the late twist that turns everything I’ve read until that point upside down.)
Not only is the story well-crafted, but I found it eerie how plausible it was. Albert Camus said that “fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth” and in Followers, Angelo is on point. Here’s an example:
Marlow had been taught that being watched put food on the table, that there wasn’t a better way to live. But she had seen, on the sidewalks of New York, all the happy nobodies—people whose days weren’t built around lengthening the trail of attention spans floating behind them. They were paunchy and muttering and somehow more alive, and they made Marlow feel sorry for Floss and Ellis [...] They might have had all the followers, but they were never finished chasing.
One thing is certain: I’ll be following Megan Angelo to see what she writes next.