Iris Vegan, a graduate student living alone and impoverished in New York, encounters four strong characters who fascinate and in different ways subordinate her: An inscrutable urban recluse who employs her to record the possessions of a murdered woman; a photographer whose eerie portrait of Iris takes on a life of its own; an old woman in hospital who tries to claim a remnant of the ailing Iris; and a professor she has an affair with.
An exploration of female identity in an age when the old definitions - as some man's daughter/wife/mother - no longer apply, fuelled with eroticism and a sense of menace.
"Gripping...A complex exploration of the nature of the self, executed in polished and immediate prose" (The Times)
"It has vivid and compelling characters; it is scary, sinister and readable ... a very smart novel" (Independent)
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