From the Publisher
Praise for In the Red"
In The Red is an absolutely dazzling book, a nuanced and haunting meditation on morality, love, crime, and belonging. In a word, this book is brilliant."Emily St. John Mandel, author of The Lola Quartet and Singer's Gun"
In the Red has all the elements that make for a down-the-rabbit-hole story: it's exotic, dangerous, deviant, delicious. But this is also essential reading about sex and identityhow trauma informs first loves and relationships open old wounds. Shapiro understands the balance sheet of power between men and women better than any other writer out there. In the Red deserves a place beside Colette and Anaïs Nin on every woman's bookshelf."Koren Zailckas, author of Mother, Mother and Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood"
A sophisticated character study... Shapiro's deft leaps forward in time and frequent use of eerie Romanian folk tales help make this dark story a multilayered literary treat."
Shapiro has written a deeply dark yet strangely uplifting second novel, about a woman beginning to find herself, discovering her own power and the tools to make use of it."Booklist"
Shapiro...blends elements of noir, fairy tales and revenge in this taut tale of power and identity."San Jose Mercury News
A Stanford freshman finds herself drawn into an Eastern European immigrant underworld in this erotically charged second novel from Shapiro (13, rue Thérèse, 2011). Brought to America from a Romanian orphanage when she was 5, Irina has always felt isolated from her peers and her loving but clueless adoptive parents. Days after moving into her college dorm—where she's already aware she will not fit in socially—she meets Andrei, who immediately recognizes her as a fellow Romanian. He's older, but she's drawn to his sinister sense of irony, potential for cruelty and occasional flashes of vulnerability. They become lovers, and she begins spending most of her time with him and his two associates, crude fellow Romanian Drago and former Russian soldier Vasilii, who at first seems more refined than the others. Although Andrei calls himself a capitalist entrepreneur, Irina knows the men's enterprises, like a chop shop for stolen cars, are shady at best. She travels with the men to Las Vegas, where Vasilii marries the strikingly beautiful Elena, who has been sent to him from Russia. Life turns darker. The girls are made to attend a disturbing stage show that includes live sex. Drago informs Irina that he's offered Andrei $10,000 to fuck her. Andrei gives her a fake passport and bank account, then sends her to buy expensive clothing and jewelry she wears once—to make love with Andrei—before it disappears. Irina becomes increasingly aware that Vasilii is the one in charge and that perhaps he is a truly evil man. The story of Irina's life with Andrei is interspersed with bits of Romanian history and the dark, twisted Romanian folk tales Andrei tells. Also scattered throughout are scenes from Irina's future life as a lonely bank teller after Andrei casts her out of his world. The limpid prose quickly persuades the reader to a trust not unlike Irina's in Andrei—and like Andrei, Shapiro's novel is at first enticing, then ambiguous and ultimately coldhearted.