Tinder Press January 2020
June Bloom is twenty-nine, broke, and an aspiring comedy writer.
Hugo Best is a beloved late-night chat show host – and notorious womaniser – who invites her to his mansion for Memorial Day Weekend.
This is the story of their four days together.
Thank you first to Rosie at Tinder Press for sending me a proof copy of this book. At just 260 pages this is a quick and entertaining read as June takes the opportunity to spend a long weekend with an aging rich and famous chat show host, whose career is coming to an end.
Incorporating the glamour of fame and all its trappings the author skilfully contrasted it with the life of June, living in a shared flat and working hard to make ends meet.
But once at the mansion those very trappings of fame are quickly revealed with a somewhat shallow and soulless existence. At times cynical at others sympathetic, June goes along for the ride with Hugo and while they mostly get on, there is something broken about this man, loved by the public and having lived a life of extravagance. His ability to engage in an authentic way is diminished and it is tragically apparent in his retirement, as his star begins to wane, so do his friendships.
This was an entertaining read which I enjoyed and I do feel it offered an insight into the life of the rich and famous. How accurate this is, I don’t know! Poignantly it demonstrated that money can’t buy happiness and all that adulation adds up to very little. But there was a glamour and affluence to this novel which I also enjoyed – a world where money doesn’t matter and everything is affordable holds some appeal I think!
This book is June’s story as a chance meeting with Hugo Best leads to the aforementioned weekend away. Written in the first person voice of June she is a strong and witty character, who acts as observer as she reflects on her time at the mansion, much of which is spent alone or with Hugo’s teenage son Spencer. Both Hugo and June have their own reasons for the weekend together and while at times they appear to connect it is clear that Hugo’s life leaves him unable to drop his public persona and allow anyone in. Leaving him portrayed as a sad and lost character despite appearing to have it all.
This novel is sharp and witty and is amusing, but with an undercurrent of black humour masking the tragedy that is the empty life of this rich and famous man. He had it all but he also had very little. How true is this for many I wonder?
About the Author
Erin Somers’ writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House Open Bar, Ploughshares, American Short Fiction, McSweeney’s, the Cincinnati Review and many other publications. She holds an MFA from the University of New Hampshire and was a 2016 NYC Center for Fiction Emerging Writer Fellow and a 2016 Millay Colony resident.
Erin lives in New York with her husband and daughter. Stay Up with Hugo Best is her first novel.