Iris Has Free Time

by Iris Smyles

List Price: $15.95
Paperback | 6 x 8.9, 372 pages | ISBN 9781593765194

Modeled on Dante’s Divine Comedy and riffing on Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Iris Has Free Time is a subtle, complicated, funny, bold, lyrical and literary, sad and wise book about youth, time, and what it means to grow up. An instant classic and essential reading for anyone who has ever been young.

“There, I came across a cluster of NYU graduates standing in cap and gown. They were laughing and posing for photos. Was it June again already? Their voices echoed through the subway tunnel. ‘Congratulations!’ ‘Congratulations!’ their parents said. And I wanted to yell, ‘Don’t do it! Go back! You don’t know what it’s like!'”

Whether passed out drunk at The New Yorker where she’s interning; assigning Cliffs Notes when hired to teach humanities at a local college; getting banned from a fleet of Greek Island ferries while on vacation, or trying to piece together the events of yet another puzzling blackout–“I prefer to call them pink-outs, because I’m a girl”–Iris is never short on misadventures. From quarter-life crisis to the shock of turning thirty, Iris Has Free Time charts a madcap, melancholic course through that curious age–one’s twenties–when childhood is over, supposedly.

Iris Smyles has reinvented Sally Bowles and Holly Golightly for the 21st centur

 
—with this difference: she inhabits rather than observes her appealing character."
-Edmund White, author of City Boy and Marcel Proust: A Life
1/6

Iris Has Free Time is a hilarious, lyrical and wise book about yout

 
—its beauty, its folly
2/6

The hilarious high jinks of a college graduate in New York trying--and frequently failin

 
—to navigate her internship, job interviews
3/6

Delightful, dreamy, witty, sad, and always charismatically engaging and curious, Iris, the narrator and heroine of this tale, lets you into her heart and mind as she observes the passing of her youth and the shadow-like recession of her dreams and romances. In doing so, she makes one think of one’s own youth and folly, and all the folly yet to come, because maybe the unspoken message of this story--and one I agree wit

 
—is that we never really grow up. At least I hope we don’t."
-Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up
4/6

darkly comic, affecting portrait of a 20-something with literary ambitions, Iris Has Free Time is a shaggy dog story, in accordance with Iris’s wish to live "plotlessly." No one conflict overarches this novel; instead, Smyles constructs a portrait of youth by focusing on smaller moments--"stories of tragic dailyness," as the narrator might put it. That aforementioned narrator is Iris herself, who tells her story in alternating tones--sometimes cynical and snotty, sometimes yearning and vulnerable--while dropping references to cultural detrita both high and low, ranging from The Odyssey and Rebecca to Sex and the City and The Real World. Smyles takes the novel’s epigraph not from Dante, but from "Spark Notes: Dante’s Inferno

 
—literary, but irreverently so.
-Electric Literature
5/6

Told in vignettes, unconstrained by time, Iris Has Free Time captures the wandering quality of our twenties, the sense of possibility. Smyles’s free form--her shifting from first person point of view, to second person, to utilizing a Q & A format that is downright philosophical as a mode of storytelling [

 
—is reminiscent of a modern Joyce, a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman."
-The Rumpus
6/6

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