Mainstream porn and Cinderella stories collide in this satirical portrait of conflicted desires.
Author: Anu Kaaja
Finnish original: Katie-Kate
Publisher: Teos, 2020
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages: 263 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, English synopsis
A radiant thirty-year-old Scandinavian girl finds herself living with an older royalist couple in a London suburb. The wife Helen, who’s fanatical about her royal memorabilia, starts making the girl over into a Kate Middleton lookalike while the husband Roger fantasizes about how she would look with Katie Price’s silicon implants. The stage is set for a bizarre ménage à trois.
Anu Kaaja’s anticipated third book cuts and pastes a societal collage that lurches in the footsteps of Vladimir Nabokov, Simone de Beauvoir, and Henry Miller – sometimes in glass slippers, sometimes in thigh-high latex boots. Kaaja doesn’t hold anything back – mainstream porn, Cinderella stories, Princess Diana’s lovers, and Meghan Markle’s tights are all interconnected, with a lyrical inevitability.
Katie-Kate is a brilliant, disturbing, and unapologetic portrait of our time. It’s unlike anything you have ever read before. Kaaja’s pitch-black humor and keen observations make her one of the most significant voices of her generation.
“Cinderella’s magic moment isn’t when she meets the prince – not at all. It’s when the fairy godmother appears. The bibbidi-bobbidi fairy shows up in a puff of smoke, just like that, squirts white light out of her magic wand, and tosses a cartload of sparkly fabric over her – just like Helen dresses Katie-Kate in Kate Middleton’s clothes – and voilà, she’s a princess. She’s Cinderella.”
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