The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, a young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father´s caretaker in a home whose squalor is the talk of the neighborhood and her day job as a secretary at the boys´ prison, filled with its own quotidian horrors. Consumed by resentment and self-loathing, Eileen dreams of escaping to the big city. In the meantime, she fills her nights and weekends with shoplifting, stalking a buff prison guard named Randy, and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father´s messes. When te bright, beautiful, and cheery Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the prison´s new counselor, Eileen is enchanted and proves unable to resist what appears at first to be a miraculously budding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that suprasses her wildest imaginings.
Played out against the snowy lanscape of coastal New England, young Eileen´s story is told from the gimlet-eyed perspective of the now much older narrator. Creepy, mesmerizing, and sublimely funny, in the tradition of Shirley Jackson and early Vladimir Nabokov, this powerful debut novel introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.