The Glow: A Novel (Hardcover)

The Glow: A Novel By Jessie Gaynor Cover Image
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A desperate young publicist tries to save her career by turning the charismatic leader of a grungy retreat center into the hot new self-care brand in this “wryly funny [and] fabulous debut novel” (The New York Times Book Review).

“A satire both cutting and careful in its approach, The Glow is a triumph.”—Elle


Jane Dorner has two modes: PR Jane, twenty-five, chummy, and eager to sell you a feminist vibrator or a self-care/bereavement subscription box; and Actual Jane, twenty-nine, drifting through mediocre workdays and lackluster dates while paralyzed by her crushing mountain of overdue medical bills. When her job performance is called into question, Jane’s last-ditch effort to preserve her livelihood and pay off her debt is to land a white whale of a client.

Enter the impossibly gorgeous Cass—whom Jane discovers scrolling through Instagram—and her unassuming husband, Tom, proprietors of a “wellness retreat” based out of a ramshackle country house that may or may not be giving off cult vibes. Suddenly Jane realizes she might have found the one ladder she can climb—if she can convince them that transforming Cass herself into a high-end wellness brand is the key to all three of their futures. Magnetic yet mysterious, Cass is primed to be an influencer: She speaks in a mix of inspirational quotes and Zen koans, eats only zucchini (the most spiritually nourishing vegetable), and has baby-perfect skin. Despite Tom’s reticence about selling out, Jane sets out to mold Cass into the kind of guru who can offer inner peace and make your skin glow—all at a hefty price, of course. As Jane reckons with her own long-dormant ambitions, she wonders: Can a person really “do good” for others while profiting off them? And what parts of our selves do we lose when we trade power, influence, and beauty?

Sparklingly plotted, deliciously deadpan, and irresistibly entertaining, The Glow is a razor-sharp sendup of an industry built on the peculiar intersection of money and wellness, where health is a commodity and self-care a luxury.

About the Author

Jessie Gaynor’s work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The New Yorker, WSJ Magazine, and elsewhere. She is a senior editor at Literary Hub and she has an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Rona Jaffe fellow. Jessie Gaynor lives in Richmond, Virginia with her family.

Praise For…

“Wryly funny . . . Jessie Gaynor’s fabulous debut novel, The Glow, is a deft sendup of wellness culture that delves a few levels deeper. Punching up at the Goop set is easy; what’s harder is empathizing with them. . . . Gaynor understands what makes wellness appealing, and why even the most staunch nonbelievers could find themselves feeling completely satiated by a diet made up mostly of zucchini, kelp and money.”The New York Times Book Review

“Deliciously satirical . . . You’ll never look at wellness PR pitches the same way again once you’ve heard Jane’s commentary on the entire endeavor.”Glamour, “The Best Books of 2023”

“Money, influence, and perfect skin do not always make for good chemistry.”Elle

“Had me in hysterics!”—Channler Twyman, Shondaland

“Funny and satirical, Gaynor totally nails self-care as a personality type.”Grazia

“Hilarious and razor sharp about the aspects of the wellness industry that aren’t all that well, this satire could kill Eat, Pray, Love on sight.”Woo

“Gaynor’s sharpened blades are out for the wellness industry and its cult-like devotion to personal brands, but The Glow is more than just incisive observation and pitch-perfect satire.”CrimeReads

“Hilariously deadpan.”SHEmazing

“[A] razor-sharp satire.”The Irish Examiner

“. . . my favorite thing about the novel is that it doesn’t at all go where you think it’s going to go, and instead winds up being much more contemplative and subtle than most of the books to which it will inevitably be compared.”Lit Hub

“A welcome dose of satire for anyone who’s been duped by yoni eggs, vagina scented candles, or those TikTok tarot readers that keep saying the man ignoring your texts is actually in love with you (me, by all three).”i-D

“Jessie Gaynor’s wildly funny, laser-eyed novel is Jane Austen on steroids. It’s that sharp, that wicked, that laceratingly true.”—Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Hours

“Deliciously tart and fizzy and absolutely intoxicating, The Glow is like a slim can of hard kombucha: a wellness tonic for people who like to make fun of the wellness industry.”—Leigh Stein, author of Self Care

“I tore through the book in a state of pure delight, pining to return to it whenever trivialities like ‘work’ or ‘sleep’ so rudely interrupted.”—Julia Pierpont, author of Among the Ten Thousand Things

“With terrifying wit, Jessie Gaynor shreds the overrated virtues of prosperity and healthy moisture barriers and extols the underrated virtues of irony and sanity.”—Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens

“Sparkling like dewy skin and laugh-out-loud funny, The Glow announces Jessie Gaynor as a compelling new novelist.”—Anna Dorn, author of Exalted

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593447871
ISBN-10: 0593447875
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: June 20th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English