“With her debut novel, Huang skewers the luxury beauty industry with a body-horror tale of fashion consumerism taken to nightmarish extremes.”
A terrible accident leaves a piano virtuoso caring for her debilitated parents and in need of a job. She creates sounds from the piano few others can replicate, passed down from her equally talented parents who fled China in the wake of the Cultural Revolution. Abandoning her music dreams, she begins working for a high-end beauty and wellness store in New York City.
Known for its extraordinary products and procedures—remoras that remove cheap botox, eyelash extensions from spider silk—she finds herself in a world of privilege. She finally feels like she belongs. With a friendship veering into something more, she finds herself using products to smooth her skin, slim her thighs, lighten her hair.
But underneath all the creams and tinctures is something very strange and sinister.
Why we’re excited about this book:
Ling ling Huang’s debut novel may be one of the most anticipated books of the year. Violinist by day, with performances with the Baltimore Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Houston Grand Opera, among others. Huang has written book and movie reviews as well as screenplays. Natural Beauty is already in production for series adaptation by Constance Wu and Drew Comins (Yellowjackets). With her debut novel, Huang skewers the luxury beauty industry with a body-horror tale of fashion consumerism taken to nightmarish extremes. In their starred review, Booklist calls Natural Beauty: “Haunting and immersive . . . The novel seamlessly blends sci-fi, literary fiction, suspense, and body horror while also exploring the oppression of the beauty industry and the Chinese immigrant experience in America. The writing is lyrical even when plot events are profoundly tragic, and the protagonist’s journey will captivate readers throughout. Highly recommended.”, and Nick Cutter (The Troop, Little Heaven) calls the book: “A modern-day Picture of Dorian Gray shot through a Cronenbergian lens, Ling Ling Huang’s Natural Beauty has big things to say about art, society, and the obsessive pursuit of youth. Huang’s writing is as austere as a flawless arpeggio, but there is great warmth in Huang’s portrayal of her characters.”
Releasing from Dutton 4 April 2023, Natural Beauty by Ling Ling Huang is available for pre-order now