Natural Beauty: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Natural Beauty: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Sly, surprising, and razor-sharp, Natural Beauty follows a young musician into an elite, beauty-obsessed world where perfection comes at a staggering cost.

Our narrator produces a sound from the piano no one else at the Conservatory can. She employs a technique she learned from her parents—also talented musicians—who fled China in the wake of the Cultural Revolution. But when an accident leaves her parents debilitated, she abandons her future for a job at a high-end beauty and wellness store in New York City.
 
Holistik is known for its remarkable products and procedures—from remoras that suck out cheap Botox to eyelash extensions made of spider silk—and her new job affords her entry into a world of privilege and gives her a long-awaited sense of belonging. She becomes transfixed by Helen, the niece of Holistik’s charismatic owner, and the two strike up a friendship that hazily veers into more. All the while, our narrator is plied with products that slim her thighs, smooth her skin, and lighten her hair. But beneath these creams and tinctures lies something sinister.
 
A piercing, darkly funny debut, Natural Beauty explores questions of consumerism, self-worth, race, and identity—and leaves readers with a shocking and unsettling truth.
Ling Ling Huang is a writer and violinist. She plays with several ensembles, including the Oregon Symphony, Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, ProMusica, Chamber Orchestra, and Experiential Orchestra, with whom she won a Grammy Award in 2021. Natural Beauty is her first novel.
Product Details ISBN: 9780593472927
ISBN-10: 0593472926
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: April 4th, 2023
Pages: 272
Language: English
"A propulsive, captivating read, Natural Beauty pulled me into its world like a fever dream. A prescient look at the dirty underbelly of society's beauty standards, it also carries a moving reminder that true beauty is often found in the very things we've been taught to abandon." —Constance Wu, star of Crazy Rich Asians and author of Making a Scene

“A surreal, dreamlike thriller where art and darkness are woven together in unexpected ways. The main character is tortured and brilliant, and possesses immense appeal and heartbreak. The cinematic storytelling shows what happens when businesses trade on the most extreme levels of human desires. Gripping!” Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face

"A modern-day Picture of Dorian Gray shot through a Cronenbergian lens, Ling Ling Huang's Natural Beauty has big things to say about art, society, and the obsessive pursuit of youth. Huang's writing is as austere as a flawless arpeggio, but there is great warmth in Huang's portrayal of her characters." —Nick Cutter, author of The Troop, The Deep, and Little Heaven

“Ling Ling Huang amplifies and expands the future of horror fiction with a book so riveting it is impossible to put down.” —Rikki Ducornet, author of Phosphor in Dreamland

"Precise, unflinching, and utterly unforgettable, NATURAL BEAUTY is both a razor-sharp critique of the beauty industry and a startlingly tender story of family and sacrifice. This book will swallow you whole." —Grace D. Li, New York Times bestselling author of Portrait of a Thief