The Savage Girl


What’s the Next Big Thing? This question is very much on the mind of Ursula Van Urden, a burned-out art student, who, after her supermodel sister Ivy’s widely publicized suicide attempt, has found work as a trendspotter for Tomorrow, Ltd., in the volcano-shadowed metropolis of Middle City. Armed with only a sketch pad and a mandate to “find the future,” Ursula discovers a homeless girl who hunts her own food and lives on the street. This “savage girl” becomes Ursula’s first trend and the basis for an advertising scheme that goes madly, disastrously awry.




“The most sensitive, observant, and shrewdest of writers are preternaturally attuned to the undercurrents that twist and warp society, and Shakar, a seer with extraordinary literary skills and a piquant sense of humor, will join the ranks of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Tom Wolfe.”
–Chicago Tribune

“Shakar’s insightful descriptions of networking at parties, pitching ideas to venture capitalists, even how professionals manage to fall in and out of love…hands us back a world mediated by media, including the Internet; a world where any distinctions between art and entertainment are so last century that they can only be the subject of cultural archaeologists, and [a world where] advertising is the most influential, i.e. significant, art form. The Savage Girl may well be the best example of the Next Big Thing in Literature.”
–American Book Review

“It’s exciting to meet an author who’s unafraid of heights.”
–New York Times Book Review

“A bitterly funny broadside on market-driven contemporary life…with the crafty-eyed precision of Don DeLillo and the humor of Neal Stephenson. A world where image is life and the Next Big Thing is a mouse-click away.”
–Kirkus Reviews

“An exceptionally smart and likable first novel that tries valiantly to ransom Beauty from its commercial captors.”
–Jonathan Franzen

“Shakar’s clever and provocative debut novel is something of a genre-bender. What’s best about this entertaining novel is the feast of ideas. Has too much irony been emitted into the earth’s atmosphere? Is glamour a zero-sum game? Is there a paradoxical essence at the heart of every product? Who knows. But Shakar makes it fun to contemplate…The ultra-gloss anxieties of your urbanites are on fetching display in this clever debut.”
–Publisher’s Weekly

“A brutally funny first novel that skewers America’s marketing mentality and fractured consciousness.”
–Time Out New York

“The Savage Girl is breathtakingly smart tragicomedy, equal parts Dawn Powell, Don DeLillo, and Douglas Coupland. A laser-sharp analysis (and embodiment) of post-ironic yearning? Yeah, sure, but it’s a pleasure to read, too.”
–Kurt Andersen

“Alex Shakar…may be a voice for the post-Gen X generation.”
–USA Today Weekend

“Fiction by the likes of Orwell, Huxley, Wolfe, Byatt, Pynchon, and DeLillo divines the undercurrents that push and pull society into states of decadence or reformation, and now Shakar continues the tradition in a kinetic debut novel that cannily assesses the shadow side of consumer culture…. Shakar’s satiric extrapolation of the cannibalistic aspect of our frenzied pursuit of what’s hot is searing and brilliant.”
–ALA Booklist (starred review)

“The age of cynicism and anomie that is captured here may have ended in a flash, but its hallmarks are revealing all the same. And Mr. Shakar preserves them here with a scathing intelligence that transcends the trendiness of any particular moment.
–The New York Times

“The author’s scalding observations will ring true with teens hip to the often outrageous ways in which advertising molds us–and will provide the rudest, smartest awakening for those who are not.”
–School Library Journal

“Literary heads are hyping this witty, satirical novel as the sleeper hit of the fall.”

“The Savage Girl is a mindbomb.”
–Kalle Lasn, author of Culture Jam