I have absolutely no idea who sent me a copy of Stay Up With Hugo Best by Erin Somers although it could have been Tinder Press‘s lovely publicists Rosie Margesson or Ellie Morley.
However, my thanks to whoever sent it in return for an honest review!
Published by Tinder Press in paperback on 23rd January 2020 Stay Up With Hugo Best is available in all formats through the publisher links here.
Stay Up With Hugo Best
June Bloom is twenty-nine, broke, and an aspiring comedy writer.
Hugo Best is a beloved late-night chat show host – and notorious womaniser – who invites her to his mansion for Memorial Day Weekend.
Charting the four days June and TV icon Hugo Best spend together, Stay Up with Hugo Best is both a smart and timely exploration of sexual politics in the #MeToo age, and the hilarious and poignant story of one young woman’s stumble into adulthood.
My Review of Stay Up With Hugo Best
A chance meeting with Hugo Best after the end of his television series leads to a weekend away for June Bloom.
Now, I’ve seen mixed reviews of Stay Up With Hugo Best and I don’t think it’s a book that will please all readers because it doesn’t have a fast paced plot of twists and turns. Indeed, with a few exceptions, little actually happens over the four days of the book, but that is its entire point. Stay Up With Hugo Best shines an incisive spotlight on identity and fame and finds them wanting. There’s no unexpected ending here, but rather a mature, sometimes saddening and always fascinating exposition of the self through June Bloom’s first person narrative.
Erin Somers writes about ambition, and the way we use one another for self-promotion that ultimately leads to failure, in a manner that put me in mind of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Both June and Hugo reminded me of Willy Loman because Erin Somers explores in sexual, physical, intellectual, emotional and social ways who we are and how we construct ourselves for others and use our attributes to manipulate others for our own benefit. I found both main characters, June and Hugo, equally distasteful and simultaneously mesmerising. Their personalities, balanced alongside the inclusion of real people and events gave a credibility to the text that enhanced its themes because I could relate to them as a reader.
The setting has scalpel sharp observations and descriptions of all social classes and especially aspirational America. New York, Hugo’s house and the various bars are depicted vividly in an uncompromising manner that almost made me feel as if I were observing from a height, somehow looking down on the action and places. Stay Up With Hugo Best feels intimate and atmospheric even as it entertains.
Erin Somers writes with a sassy style incorporating acerbic wit and dark humour with an eye for humanity that makes for a highly entertaining read in Stay Up With Hugo Best. I found it uncompromising, expertly crafted and actually quite moving. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would encourage readers to try it for themselves.
About Erin Somers
Erin Somers’ writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House Open Bar, Ploughshares, American Short Fiction, McSweeney’s, the Cincinnati Review, and many other publications.
She holds an MFA from the University of New Hampshire and was a 2016 NYC Center for Fiction Emerging Writer Fellow and a 2016 Millay Colony resident. Erin lives in New York with her husband and daughter.
Stay Up with Hugo Best is her first novel.