Everything You Ever Wanted by Luiza Sauma “deserves to be on every prize longlist”: A Review

 

How far would you go to escape your life? Another city? Another country? Another planet? Iris Cohen, the heroine of Luiza Sauma’s absorbing and ambitious second novel, Everything You Ever Wanted, chooses the last of these options, making it through the recruitment process to become one of 100 “lucky” people who will forge a new life on newly discovered planet Nyx.

Except it’s not quite as simple as that. For Iris and her fellow volunteers are also part of a Truman Show reality TV experiment, Life on Nyx, which will see their daily lives and thoughts beamed back to Earth, even though they have no contact with the world back home, no internet or social media, no television, no way of knowing what’s actually going on out there – and, worst of all, no way back.

As a premise, it’s straight out of the Black Mirror playbook and there are shades of Charlie Brooker’s creation both in the way in which Sauma dissects Iris’s growing plight and in the cool, biting prose with which she lays out the emptiness of her previous life in London, working for “a creative agency with outposts in New York and Amsterdam”.

 

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