You will tear through Vendela Vida’s The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty, this wry, edgy, philosophical thriller, this love child of Albert Camus and Patricia Highsmith, this sly satire of Hollywood, this entertaining journey through the vast desert of identity and regret.
—Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
Part glamorous travelogue, part slow-burn mystery, this full-bodied tale of a runaway is at once formally inventive and heartbreakingly familiar. Through her sumptuous descriptions of Morocco and the painfully real internal monologue of her second-person narrator, Vendela Vida proves once and for all that wherever you go there are are—but that travel has the power to awaken new selves and heal primal wounds. (It’s also insanely funny.)
—Lena Dunham, author of Not That Kind of Girl
[Vida’s] finest book. . . . With its echoes of Hitchcock and Highsmith, this novel is full of darting pleasures.
—New York Times
After this, I'll read anything Vida writes. I trust her not to waste our time.
—The Chicago Tribune
The smooth engineering of her fourth and finest book, [create] a taut, suspenseful story that ticks along with marvelous efficiency, like a little bomb.
—The New York Times
Whether there is freedom in becoming truly no one is hard to know, but what emerges from this shifting, uncertain terrain is a novel of sublime unease and delicious bewilderment.
Vendela Vida has written a truly original novel, a work of art that shines with Buñuelian play and cruelty. You will be driven to read this novel compulsively, and then you will have the same strange sly smile that I do now.
—Rachel Kushner, author of The Mars Room
The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty is a chilling tale about the gradual loss of identity—a novel of doubles, invisibility, and lies, poised somewhere between thriller and fever dream.
—Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood
A taut, spellbinding literary thriller that probes the essence and malleability of identity.
In this mesmerizing novel of ideas, a woman travels to Casablanca, Morocco, on mysterious business. While checking into her hotel, the woman is robbed of her wallet and passport—all of her money and identification. Though the police investigate, the woman senses an undercurrent of complicity between the hotel staff and the authority—she knows she’ll never recover her possessions. Stripped of her identity, she feels burdened by the crime yet strangely liberated by her sudden freedom to be anyone she chooses.
A chance encounter with a movie producer leads to a job posing as a stand-in for a well-known film star. The star reels her in deeper, though, and soon she’s inhabiting the actress’s skin off set too—going deeper into the Casablancan night and further from herself. And so continues a strange and breathtaking journey full of unexpected turns, an adventure in which the woman finds herself moving irrevocably, thrillingly, away from the person she once was.
Told with vibrant and lush detail and a wicked sense of humor, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty is part literary mystery, part psychological thriller—an unforgettable novel that explores free will, power, and a woman’s right to choose not her past, not her present, but certainly her future.