A whip smart, funny and biting literary debut about relationships in the age of social media and conspiracy trolls
by Lauren Oyler
Catapult, early 2021
FAKE ACCOUNTS opens in January 2017 as our unnamed narrator, a young woman in a post-election tailspin, decides there’s never been a better time to break into her boyfriend’s cell phone. She discovers Felix (if that’s his real name…) is secretly a quite popular online conspiracy theorist. That’s the first in a series of Russian doll-like revelations that send her reeling and inspire a move from New York to Berlin, where she becomes a small-scale compulsive liar—though in her defense, mainly with OkCupid dates. As our narrator approaches her relationships with the wary hopefulness of someone whose beloved pet recently bit her, a series of jaw-dropping deceptions follow suit. Thrumming underneath it all is the age-old question that has gained new urgency as the internet has inundated us with the thoughts and opinions of unprecedented numbers of other people: am I going crazy?
Combining the “voice of a generation” quality of Adelle Waldman and Sally Rooney with bursts of exquisite observational humor reminiscent of Otessa Mosfegh and Maria Semple, the result is an energetic exploration of social media, sex, feminism, online dating, astrology, fiction, and the « connection » they’ve all promised but failed to deliver.
Lauren Oyler’s essays on books, pop culture, and feminism have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, the Cut and elsewhere. She is the co-author of two books with Alyssa Mastromonaco, the former deputy chief of staff for President Obama: Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, a New York Times bestseller, and So Here’s the Thing…, published on March 5, 2019. She grew up in Hurricane, West Virginia, and lives in Brooklyn. She spends as much time in Berlin as possible.