Endearing, self-absorbed, seventeen-year-old Cecile is the very essence of untroubled amorality. Freed from the stifling constraints of boarding school, she joins her father & a handsome, still-young widower with a wandering eye-for a carefree, two-month summer vacation in a beautiful villa outside of Paris with his latest mistress, Elsa. Cecile cherishes the free-spirited moments she and her father share, while plotting her own sexual adventures with a “tall and almost beautiful” law student. But the arrival of her late mother’s best friend, Anne, intrudes upon a young girl’s pleasures. And when a relationship begins to develop between the adults, Cecile and her lover set in motion a plan to keep them apart. . . with tragic, unexpected consequences.
A touchstone over the years for writers as different as David Foster Wallace and Elizabeth Hardwick, Speedboat returns to enthrall a new generation of readers. When members of the National Book Critics Circle were polled to see which book they would most like to see republished, they chose Speedboat—“by far.” This story of a young female newspaper reporter coming of age in New York City was originally published serially in the New Yorker; it is made out of seemingly unrelated vignettes—tart observations distilled through relentless intellect—which add up to an analysis of our brittle, urban existence. It remains as fresh as when it was first published.