Vacuum in the Dark
From the Whiting Award-winning author of Pretend I’m Dead and one of the most exhilarating new voices in fiction, a new hilarious, edgy, and brilliant one-of-a-kind novel about a cleaning lady named Mona and her struggles to move forward in life.Mona is twenty-six and cleans houses for a living in Taos, New Mexico. She moved there mostly because of a bad boyfriend—a junkie named Mr. Disgusting, long story—and her efforts to restart her life since haven’t exactly gone as planned. For one thing, she’s got another bad boyfriend. This one she calls Dark, and he happens to be married to one of Mona’s clients. He also might be a little unstable.Dark and his wife aren’t the only complicated clients on Mona’s roster, either. There’s also the Hungarian artist couple who—with her addiction to painkillers and his lingering stares—reminds Mona of troubling aspects of her childhood, and some of the underlying reasons her life had to be restarted in the first place. As she tries to get over the heartache of her affair and the older pains of her youth, Mona winds up on an eccentric, moving journey of self-discovery that takes her back to her beginnings where she attempts to unlock the key to having a sense of home in the future.The only problems are Dark and her past. Neither is so easy to get rid of.A constantly surprising, laugh-out-loud funny novel about an utterly unique woman dealing with some of the most universal issues in America today, Vacuum in the Dark is an unforgettable, astonishing read from one of the freshest voices in fiction today.

Vacuum in the Dark Details

TitleVacuum in the Dark
Author
ReleaseFeb 26th, 2019
PublisherScribner
ISBN-139781501182143
Rating
GenreFiction, Humor

Vacuum in the Dark Review

  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    I’m going to have to put this one down for now. It’s just not the type of book I know would resonate with me.
  • Bandit
    January 1, 1970
    Beagin’s debut which I read back when it appeared on Netgalley was quite something. Her darkly humorous take on the life of a genuinely singular cleaning lady was a strangely pleasurable read. And one I’d never imagine getting a sequel. And yet…here we are. And the cleaning lady is still at it, vacuuming in the dark, which is not only an occasionally apt job description, but a nice metaphor for her life, no less messed up, confusing or confused since the last time, despite tucking a few more yea Beagin’s debut which I read back when it appeared on Netgalley was quite something. Her darkly humorous take on the life of a genuinely singular cleaning lady was a strangely pleasurable read. And one I’d never imagine getting a sequel. And yet…here we are. And the cleaning lady is still at it, vacuuming in the dark, which is not only an occasionally apt job description, but a nice metaphor for her life, no less messed up, confusing or confused since the last time, despite tucking a few more years under the apron’s belt. More places to clean, still no personal boundaries, resolving in bizarre relationships and attachments. This novel is structured as a quartet of sequential and almost self contained stories (which also do a nice job of refreshing the first book for the reader), each one a different situation, a different environment, a different love story in a way, from romantic to parental. Essentially what it does is peel off the layers and Beagin’s protagonist is one odd onion. Or maybe it’s more like the nesting dolls, each one stranger than the last. Either way, the author dips far enough into the past to explain certain present behaviors and tendencies, but after a while it does get slightly frustrating…and while explanations might be provided, there doesn’t seem to be any closure or changes or maturity. The cleaning lady stays consistently quirky and odd and, while I appreciate consistency in real life, fictional ones are usually improved by transformations. Mind you, Beagin’s created a genuinely terrific original character, but how long can you hit that piñata and appreciate all the weirdness that emerges? That sort of thing tends to get old. But yet the book is such an entertaining and funny read. There’s no reason for it to exist really, but for the author’s reluctance to leave the character behind or possibly due to the fact that both books are quite short and should have been one long one to begin with, but it’s fun while it lasts and I’d probably even check out the further adventures of the cleaning lady if the author comes up with any. The book’s ending certainly makes you think she might. Much like a thing cleaned over and over again no matter how well it doesn’t quite have the luster and freshness of the original. Fun read though, for cleaning tips, for weird love stories and clever badinage with imaginary friends and all that. Easily done in one sitting too. Thanks Netgalley.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    January 1, 1970
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'While her parents were busy ruining their marriage, she’d spent three or four days a week with her paternal grandfather, Woody Boyle, a mild-mannered man, an avid reader and functional alcoholic. But he’d taught her all of life’s essentials: how to spit like a man, take a good photograph, drive stick, make a stiff drink, swim butterfly, French-braid, and, perhaps most importantly, how to play dumb.'Mona’s voice is always entertaining for me as via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'While her parents were busy ruining their marriage, she’d spent three or four days a week with her paternal grandfather, Woody Boyle, a mild-mannered man, an avid reader and functional alcoholic. But he’d taught her all of life’s essentials: how to spit like a man, take a good photograph, drive stick, make a stiff drink, swim butterfly, French-braid, and, perhaps most importantly, how to play dumb.'Mona’s voice is always entertaining for me as it’s unfiltered. In Pretend I’m Dead it was all about her love for drug addict Mr. Disgusting and his “creepy honesty.” She staunchly remains messy, keeps her cracks like we all do and isn’t going to transform into a perfect human ideal giggling under some rainbow because she has it all figured out. Does anyone ever truly do this in real life? Wherever you go, there you are whether you’ve gained wisdom or not, you’re still you! So Mr. Disgusting is out, what does she do? Takes up with a married man she calls Dark, of course, which isn’t really a step up from chasing after her dead junkie boyfriend. Still cleaning other’s filth, she spends her days swooning over the love notes he brazenly leaves behind for her to find on her cleaning days at his home. The stupor their love-making puts her in dissipates when Rose, his wife, enlightens her about the true state of their marriage. Then there is the mystery pooh, yep… poop. Jen Beagin can spin some of the strangest situations for Mona, darkly hilarious, she seems to witness people at their lowest. I shouldn’t grin like a lunatic when I read her books but I do. This novel is a great escape from the usual writing out there.Soon she meets the barbarians, cats owned by the Kosas, a pill popping Hungarian couple. The murderous cats are as exotic as Lena and Paul, both artists with a house that feels like a lover waiting to be explored by Mona. Explore it she does, making her own art, taking photographs while talking to herself (Terry, her subconscious or imaginary friend), crossing boundaries, as always. We learn more about Mona’s past in this book. Yoko and Yoko (Shiori and Nigel) are still telling her to ‘stay curious’ but she isn’t curious enough about her childhood, would rather leave what is hiding in that dark abyss untouched. Lena and Paul convince her to pose nude for them, but it’s the way Lena helps Mona feel carefree enough to ‘bare’ herself that bonds them as much as Lena’s “war stories”. Then there are the pills, no big deal… Lena can mentor her, help her get her foot into the art world, do something with her photographs. Lena helps her give birth to the meaning behind her pictures, which tell a story Mona hadn’t been paying attention to until Lena’s keen eye comes along. Their intimacy happens fast, Mona is finally opening herself up to someone, telling Lena a story she buried long ago, making her vulnerable in a way she has never been and just like that, Lena is gone, a sudden abrupt departure.Mona is left alone to pose for Paul as Lena is called away for work at the gallery, props are firing off memories of her past better left untouched. She discovers through Paul that Lena hasn’t been as open and forthcoming as she seems. There is something about Mona that has inspired Lena to pull her into their world, that has Lena praying for her and for rain, rain in a clear sky. Paul wants too much from her, it begins to feel wrong, and to the surface the muck of her long-held shame rises. The couple may be a catalyst forcing her to understand that her long held beliefs about her relationships have been skewed, always forcing her into the role of villain.Licking her wounds from betrayal, her biological mother calls and asks her to come out to LA and pick up the boxes she has kept. Returning feels like regressing, and her mother and stepfather Frank seem to have ‘gone to the birds’. Drug abuse, mental illness… all sorts of troubles in her family genetics, but things can change, people can sober up and face their pain. It’s never too late for one’s mother to take her rightful place in your life, is it? For Mona, it’s ‘mercy’ that brings her to tears, and tough Frank may surprise her as much as her ‘reformed’ mother. The forces of nature lead her to a man named Kurt and Bakersfield but old habits die hard, Mona doesn’t always do the right thing for herself, and she sometimes figures things out too late, but some people take the long way home. Mona likes to chase her own tail, but by the end she may find direction and clarity.I think Jen Beagin is fantastic because maybe I enjoy my characters shell-shocked by their life experiences, it is easier to relate to imperfection. I loved it!Publication Date: February 26, 2019Scribner
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  • Donna Davis
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book free and early, thanks to Net Galley and Scribner. It will be available to the public February 26, 2019. The cover grabbed my attention right away since I like sassy working class fiction. I haven’t read the author’s first book, but this one doesn’t rely on back story, so that is no problem. The promotional blurb says this is laugh-out-loud funny, and it did make me laugh out loud right away. The protagonist Mona is a housecleaner, and as she is wiping down the various surfa I received this book free and early, thanks to Net Galley and Scribner. It will be available to the public February 26, 2019. The cover grabbed my attention right away since I like sassy working class fiction. I haven’t read the author’s first book, but this one doesn’t rely on back story, so that is no problem. The promotional blurb says this is laugh-out-loud funny, and it did make me laugh out loud right away. The protagonist Mona is a housecleaner, and as she is wiping down the various surfaces in the bathroom, she comes across a human turd on a soap dish. The hell? But she resolves not to say anything about it, because she tells us once you mention it, they win. I howled with laughter. This is great stuff. Every now and then she tosses in a cleaning tip, and for some reason it works with the narrative. Maybe it’s because she already uses such an eccentric style that it seems consistent with the rest of the story. As the first of the book’s four sections moves forward, she recollects the oddball things that she’s found while cleaning other people’s homes, and then we see the reward she gives herself at the end, after several hours of cleaning a large, expensive home: she paws through the residents’ clothing, selects some, and tries it on. She photographs herself in their clothes, and she also photographs herself mostly nude with their more remarkable possessions. But one day she is interrupted in this ritual by the homeowner, and a truly bizarre relationship develops which includes his wife as well, and just like that we moved out of my comfort zone, but I promised to read and review this thing, so I forged onward. I knew this would be edgy humor when I requested the galley, and perhaps I should have read between the lines a little more thoroughly. The narrative contains a goodly amount of explicit sexual content—much of it twisted--not to mention a rape that Mona recounts, a scarring episode from her past. But in all of it, I don’t see any character development to speak of. The plot seems like more of a framework that’s been constructed in order to contain the various bits of humor that the author wants to include. And here, I also have to wonder why, why, why would anyone include the horrific suicide of a family member in an otherwise raunchily funny book? It was unexpected and made my gut flip over, the snide things she thinks about how the couple has dealt with the death of their daughter, the disposition of the ashes. Once you have read something you can’t unread it, and in all honesty I won’t read anything by this writer again. At the same time, there are readers that loved her first book and I’ll bet you a dollar that they will love this one too. It bears the hallmark of a cult classic. I have no doubt that many readers will love it, but I do not. Recommended to readers that read and enjoyed the author’s first book.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    2.5/5 starsWhen I first got this book I had no idea that it was connected to a previous book (Pretend I'm Dead). I thought about reading the first book. But then decided to just read this book and see if it could stand on its own. It definitely does. Although the main character Mona's story does apparently begin in the first book.This book is divided into four parts. It's basically four different stories that are connected and all narrated by Mona.This is a very adult book. The humor is at times 2.5/5 starsWhen I first got this book I had no idea that it was connected to a previous book (Pretend I'm Dead). I thought about reading the first book. But then decided to just read this book and see if it could stand on its own. It definitely does. Although the main character Mona's story does apparently begin in the first book.This book is divided into four parts. It's basically four different stories that are connected and all narrated by Mona.This is a very adult book. The humor is at times dark. The narrator is Mona. She is 26 years old and a cleaning lady. There were definitely times when things in this book piqued my interest. But this story really is unlike anything I normally read. The first section was about someone pooping all over a house she was cleaning. And truthfully I did not find this funny. There is a chapter about her mother, which I also didn't love. There are lots of mentions of incest and rape. And parts of the story were a bit crude and vulgar to me. And then the book just ends. The book is different and interesting, but just not for me.Thanks to netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to read this book.
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  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 certainly. 4 chapters, that made up this mad hatter of a novel. Vacuum in the dark and Mona are the most deliciously weird things that have entered my life lately. There was a book before this one, and I'm hoping there's going to be a book after this one because where we left off was one tick shy of a grave in the desert. Jen Beagin strings together words into sentences that my brain would never even think belonged on the same page, but they're beautiful in their entirety. Taken one sentence 4.5 certainly. 4 chapters, that made up this mad hatter of a novel. Vacuum in the dark and Mona are the most deliciously weird things that have entered my life lately. There was a book before this one, and I'm hoping there's going to be a book after this one because where we left off was one tick shy of a grave in the desert. Jen Beagin strings together words into sentences that my brain would never even think belonged on the same page, but they're beautiful in their entirety. Taken one sentence at a time they're just weird, but as a whole they're achingly wonderful. She's 26, she's a cleaning lady, she gets involved in one love story after another, she's got trauma galore, and somehow this just turned into the Little Mermaid theme song. Any way I write it is going to make is sound mundane and it's anything but. I'll be waiting for the next novel on tenterhooks.
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  • Janet Newport
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley and Scribner for this arc.????? What...……..????"Constantly surprising, laugh out loud funny... ...dealing with some of the most universal in America today..."I must be inhabiting a different America. I requested this book based on the publisher's blurb. The first book of this series had received somewhat mixed reviews (I've not read it), but seemed to have settled around 3.5 stars. So I thought I'd try this one.....3-D rating from me. Desperate....Depressing... Dismal. And I Thank you NetGalley and Scribner for this arc.????? What...……..????"Constantly surprising, laugh out loud funny... ...dealing with some of the most universal in America today..."I must be inhabiting a different America. I requested this book based on the publisher's blurb. The first book of this series had received somewhat mixed reviews (I've not read it), but seemed to have settled around 3.5 stars. So I thought I'd try this one.....3-D rating from me. Desperate....Depressing... Dismal. And I skipped through some of the repetitive pages.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    A Funny, Quirky Read•This book is hilarious!! It is the sequel to Pretend I'm Dead, which I have not read yet but I feel like it isn't required to enjoy this book. I am however intrigued to read it after finishing this one.Mona's character is funny and quirky. I laughed out loud at her narration. This book is darkly funny, and explicit, and a bit odd. It will not be to everyone taste but I enjoyed it.•For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong
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  • Doug
    January 1, 1970
    Beagin has a singular voice, and like her stellar first book, Pretend I'm Dead, this is a fun, quirky, sui generis romp. If I didn't rate it quite as highly, it's because, as with many (most?) sequels, this suffers just a tiny bit from sophomore slump ... cleaning lady Mona was such a surprising, unique character the first time around, that encountering her again doesn't have quite the same impact. It's more like running into an old friend, and though you're grateful for the encounter, you're ju Beagin has a singular voice, and like her stellar first book, Pretend I'm Dead, this is a fun, quirky, sui generis romp. If I didn't rate it quite as highly, it's because, as with many (most?) sequels, this suffers just a tiny bit from sophomore slump ... cleaning lady Mona was such a surprising, unique character the first time around, that encountering her again doesn't have quite the same impact. It's more like running into an old friend, and though you're grateful for the encounter, you're just somehow NOT quite as excited as you were initially. Still, should there be a third volume of Mona's exploits (and the ending here certainly indicates that IS an option), I'd definitely be up for the ride! Or really, wherever Beagin wants to take me next. My sincere thanks to Scribner and Netgalley for the ARC, in exchange for this honest (nd enthusiastic) review!
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  • Gaele
    January 1, 1970
    Metaphorically, the title works on two levels, as Mona is often cleaning in dark/dim areas and she herself seems to be moving through life in a shaded and often light-bereft manner. She even lives in a shade-side apartment, and isn’t particularly good at examining her own life, particularly moments that are emotional. Not knowing that Mona was introduced in an earlier book, and finding this story bringing her character forward to carry the novel through the four parts of the story, I will say th Metaphorically, the title works on two levels, as Mona is often cleaning in dark/dim areas and she herself seems to be moving through life in a shaded and often light-bereft manner. She even lives in a shade-side apartment, and isn’t particularly good at examining her own life, particularly moments that are emotional. Not knowing that Mona was introduced in an earlier book, and finding this story bringing her character forward to carry the novel through the four parts of the story, I will say that everything here is a surprise. Dark, often juvenile humor that dances with very adult subjects, Mona is a not always reliably contextual narrator of her life, and her voice, while intriguing with the pointed and often clever questions asked by the ”Terry in her head” don’t seem to bear any relationship to Mona’s own levels of self-awareness. The synopsis calls this a hilarious and edgy, one of a kind story. And like much else, the humor and the edginess are decided by the reader and their reaction to the story, and personally, it often felt like a piece of ‘art’ from an artist dreaming up imagery (in this case using words, situations and emotionally triggering events) to push for a reaction. It was a near constant onslaught of ‘meant to be shocking moments’ that did little more than annoy after overexposure and endless topical analysis. I’m not sure to whom this book would hold appeal, it was, for me, a clear instance of expectation far exceeding the actual story, and leaving me with several head scratching moments. Sure, having Terry Gross as your imaginary friend and voice of reason is a brilliant concept, and I can even hear her voicing her own ‘dialogue’ in the book, but that one moment that shines in a story that then becomes an overload of noise with events and words meant to shock and draw notice just doesn’t hold up. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.Review first appeared at < a href=” https://wp.me/p3OmRo-aiV/” > I am, Indeed
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  • Kales
    January 1, 1970
    Honesty first: I didn't get this book. I didn't understand it and felt the whole time, that I was missing something huge, symbolic or overall important. That said, I don't want to rate it too terribly just because I was missing something or it wasn't my normal type of book. It was well written, rather interesting and I finished it, so that says something. I just don't want to discourage people who might enjoy this type of story, when it is not really my cup of tea.This reminds me of my reaction Honesty first: I didn't get this book. I didn't understand it and felt the whole time, that I was missing something huge, symbolic or overall important. That said, I don't want to rate it too terribly just because I was missing something or it wasn't my normal type of book. It was well written, rather interesting and I finished it, so that says something. I just don't want to discourage people who might enjoy this type of story, when it is not really my cup of tea.This reminds me of my reaction to THE LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE. I read that and it was deeply out of my comfort zone. However, I still gave it a good review because it was a good book but it just made me uncomfortable and is not something I would recommend to everyone. This book is the same way. It was definitely an "out of my element" read and that doesn't make it bad, it just makes it out of my norm and therefore, not my favorite. One of the things I will commend this book on is the writing and the voice. It had such a unique tone to the entire thing that ebbed and flowed throughout the pages. Mona was a deeply flawed but interesting character. And her exploits and adventures were not ones I would normally follow or agree with but I weirdly enjoyed following her story.That said, this was a slice of life story. It was a very limited plot but again, I could be wildly wrong and I just missed a lot of the plot. I felt like this book just want over my head. I will say, I liked the beginning better than the second half because when she was meeting people and cleaning houses, that was much more compelling than her family drama. I definitely lost interest in the later half of the book.I don't yet know what I am going to do with this one. It was a weird, interesting read for sure. Conclusion: ...
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  • Rachel SV
    January 1, 1970
    Well, shit, I didn’t realize until JUST THIS MOMENT that this is a sequel of sorts so I guess you should know you apparently don’t need to read the first one to get what’s going on here.Dark, funny, explicit, weird, ridiculous. Getting into Mona’s head is maybe not for the faint of heart, but I personally like temporarily occupying the perspective of someone so aware of how messed up they are and just owning it. A quick read with great writing, but not for everyone.
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  • MisterHobgoblin
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Jen Beagin’s first novel, Pretend I’m Dead. We met Mona, an intelligent woman who is a cleaner. Just a cleaner. Not a student working as a cleaner, or a writer working as a cleaner, or a mother-of-three working as cleaner. Just a cleaner. And Mona was quirky, enjoying both her work (she knows how to clean pretty much any mark or stain), and also taking selfies in her clients’ apartments and sometimes in their clothes. Vacuuming In The Dark is pretty much the same. Mona has relocated from I loved Jen Beagin’s first novel, Pretend I’m Dead. We met Mona, an intelligent woman who is a cleaner. Just a cleaner. Not a student working as a cleaner, or a writer working as a cleaner, or a mother-of-three working as cleaner. Just a cleaner. And Mona was quirky, enjoying both her work (she knows how to clean pretty much any mark or stain), and also taking selfies in her clients’ apartments and sometimes in their clothes. Vacuuming In The Dark is pretty much the same. Mona has relocated from Massachusetts to New Mexico and meets a different set of grotesque clients. Mostly it feels like an episodic novel, distinct novella/short story sections with a thin narrative thread running through to hold them together. Those episodes are quite readable, but a bit like Mona’s life, there’s a sense that it isn’t really going anywhere. The quirkiness feels a little bit stale, the vibrancy of the first novel seems to have dulled. The tropes – Terry the talkshow DJ; Mr Disgusting; Mona’s ambiguous sexuality – start to feel repetitive. It must be hard to follow up a quirky hit – Mark Haddon and Graeme Simsion would attest to that. But writing the same novel as last time wasn’t the right way to do it.
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  • Rachel Watkins
    January 1, 1970
    Mona is a housecleaner with a complicated past whose closest confidant is the host of NPR's FRESH AIR, Terry Gross, who Mona has a personal relationship with (in her active fantasy world=mind). Mona falls in love with all the wrong people (and houses) and is secretly a gifted photographer. This book is weird and I loved it.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    Via my book blog at https://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/This novel is a wing ding of a book about a young woman who works as a house cleaner in Taos, New Mexico. Mona has had a rough life starting with her parents, grandfather, and continuing with boyfriends who are creepy and treat her poorly.Mona has a friend she talks to, Terry Gross of NPR. Terry isn't there when Mona speaks to her nor does she even know Terry, but it seems to help Mona get through the day. Her housecleaning clients are wea Via my book blog at https://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/This novel is a wing ding of a book about a young woman who works as a house cleaner in Taos, New Mexico. Mona has had a rough life starting with her parents, grandfather, and continuing with boyfriends who are creepy and treat her poorly.Mona has a friend she talks to, Terry Gross of NPR. Terry isn't there when Mona speaks to her nor does she even know Terry, but it seems to help Mona get through the day. Her housecleaning clients are wealthy and often quite weird. Mona is a photographer and takes pictures of herself in the houses she cleans. Often, the photos are of her dressed in her clients' clothes. The client that leaves the most definite impression is the blind woman whose husband is always traveling. Mona is fascinated by the client's beauty and her willingness to take time to talk with Mona.And let's not forget Mona's neighbors who dress in white pajama type gear and whom Mona calls Yoko and Yoko. This book is new and provocative. I agree with reviewers who call it fresh, and it is that. A sweet, young voice is always welcome. I wish Jan Beagin heaps of success with her new work.I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded up to 4.*I downloaded this title months ago from Netgalley, and I'm not sure why I waited so long to read it! I did not realize that it was a sequel, even as I was reading it until I looked up the book to see what the reviews were like. Not surprisingly, the reviews for this title run the gamut.Vacuum in the Dark is the story of Mona, an artistic, emotionally struggling cleaning lady who maintains an ongoing friendship (in her mind) with Terry Gross (the NPR newscaster). Mona i 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.*I downloaded this title months ago from Netgalley, and I'm not sure why I waited so long to read it! I did not realize that it was a sequel, even as I was reading it until I looked up the book to see what the reviews were like. Not surprisingly, the reviews for this title run the gamut.Vacuum in the Dark is the story of Mona, an artistic, emotionally struggling cleaning lady who maintains an ongoing friendship (in her mind) with Terry Gross (the NPR newscaster). Mona is deliciously weird. I immediately liked her for all of her quirks. However, the story tends not only to the absurd but often to the vulgar and definitely toward the extremes. There is heavy graphic sexual undertones, backstories involving sexual abuse, and decidedly unhealthy coping mechanisms.All that said, I really enjoyed the book. It is not for everybody and I'd be very careful about who I would recommend it to, but I will recommend it. I also plan to read the first book in the series and look forward to more from Jen Beagin.*with thanks to Netgalley for the digital ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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  • Carla
    January 1, 1970
    (Thank you, Scribner via NetGalley, for the free digital copy to review. All opinions are my own.)The story is broken up into four separate sections. The first one totally threw me off and I almost DNF'd the rest of the book because, quite honestly, I couldn't figure out why I was reading so much about poop 💩. (Seriously.) Had the book been longer and not a @NetGalley request, I probably would have DNF'd it. Thank goodness, the parts got better as it went on…but not by much. I kind of thought th (Thank you, Scribner via NetGalley, for the free digital copy to review. All opinions are my own.)The story is broken up into four separate sections. The first one totally threw me off and I almost DNF'd the rest of the book because, quite honestly, I couldn't figure out why I was reading so much about poop 💩. (Seriously.) Had the book been longer and not a @NetGalley request, I probably would have DNF'd it. Thank goodness, the parts got better as it went on…but not by much. I kind of thought this would be a fictionalized version of Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land, but it wasn’t reminiscent of that story in any way. Ultimately, this just wasn't the book for me. It is a quick read and some may find it funny, but I personally didn't connect with it in anyway. Out today (2/25/19)!Do you connect with “humorous” books or is it just me? For example, I want to LOVE David Sedaris but I don’t find his writing funny either. It’s just me, isn’t it?
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  • Eva
    January 1, 1970
    ⭐⭐⭐The blurb for this book refers to this being “a constantly surprising, laugh out loud funny novel.” As a reader and reviewer I see this being true for the first 10-20 pages of the book. After that the book takes on the tragic life of a woman who grew up with traumatic experiences and poor role models. These factors play a role in how Mona gets through life, most of it in a detached way. The lack of love for herself results in others treating her poorly too. A few exceptions arise when Mona co ⭐️⭐️⭐️The blurb for this book refers to this being “a constantly surprising, laugh out loud funny novel.” As a reader and reviewer I see this being true for the first 10-20 pages of the book. After that the book takes on the tragic life of a woman who grew up with traumatic experiences and poor role models. These factors play a role in how Mona gets through life, most of it in a detached way. The lack of love for herself results in others treating her poorly too. A few exceptions arise when Mona confides in her neighbours and the man she met during an earthquake.Many parts of this well-written somewhat exploratory novel are very affecting and uncomfortable but needed to be told for the reader to understand the character. Read this book to learn about the less hilarious side of Mona’s life and how Mona tries to make changes in her life and move forward.Thanks to @netgalley and @scribnerbooks for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Brittany Larson
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. In some ways this book felt pretentious and depressing, but at the same time I was kind of into it. It's less of a novel and more a collection of four related short stories. The "point," to me, is less about the narrative and more getting into the head of the narrator and feeling what she feels. In that way, I think this book will stay with me for awhile, but I've already forgotten most of t Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. In some ways this book felt pretentious and depressing, but at the same time I was kind of into it. It's less of a novel and more a collection of four related short stories. The "point," to me, is less about the narrative and more getting into the head of the narrator and feeling what she feels. In that way, I think this book will stay with me for awhile, but I've already forgotten most of the characters' names. I love that she has a running dialogue in her head with Terry Gross, host of NPR's Fresh Air. Super random, but it also totally worked. All in all, I liked how this book made me think and feel, but not a lot of story. I would read more by Jen Beagin, though, I can see her doing great things.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    Mona is someone way out of my personal experience. I read the first book and noted at the time that I wasn't sure I liked her. This second book reinforced in me the fact that while I may not be able to relate to her, I just can't look away. Beagin has a unique voice, for sure, and she's turned her lens on the rest of us. You might find some of this disgusting and you might also (surprise) recognize something of yourself or someone you know in her clients or Mona herself. You gotta love someone w Mona is someone way out of my personal experience. I read the first book and noted at the time that I wasn't sure I liked her. This second book reinforced in me the fact that while I may not be able to relate to her, I just can't look away. Beagin has a unique voice, for sure, and she's turned her lens on the rest of us. You might find some of this disgusting and you might also (surprise) recognize something of yourself or someone you know in her clients or Mona herself. You gotta love someone who talks to Terry Gross in her head. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. This isn't for everyone but those who like literary fiction with a sometimes ugly turn should try it. I'm actually looking forward to whatever Beagin writes next.
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  • Geoff
    January 1, 1970
    When I heard that there would be a sequel to Beagin's Pretend I'm Dead, I was thrilled. I loved that book so much, loved the voice of the main character (well, really, the voice of Beagin) and the familiar strangeness of her world.The sequel, I'm happy to say, is just as weird and delightful, one those rare books that does actually make me laugh out loud when I'm reading it, even in public. As with Pretend I'm Dead, I could have gone on reading; had the book been two or three times as long, I wo When I heard that there would be a sequel to Beagin's Pretend I'm Dead, I was thrilled. I loved that book so much, loved the voice of the main character (well, really, the voice of Beagin) and the familiar strangeness of her world.The sequel, I'm happy to say, is just as weird and delightful, one those rare books that does actually make me laugh out loud when I'm reading it, even in public. As with Pretend I'm Dead, I could have gone on reading; had the book been two or three times as long, I would not have gotten tired of it. I suppose my only real critique is how much the story bounces around, leaving a love interest behind abruptly (even if — spoilers — he comes back around in the end). I hope Beagin keeps writing books featuring Mona. I'll read each and every one.
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  • Jamma
    January 1, 1970
    Vacuum in the Dark by Jen Beagin is a sequel to Pretend I’m Dead, which I didn’t realize when I requested this book. However, it really didn’t matter or take away from my enjoyment of the story. This was tragic, weird, strange, dark, funny and did indeed have laugh out loud moments. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this one. And while I’m being honest, I have to say that at the beginning I had a hard time getting into the book and almost chucked it a couple of times. I am Vacuum in the Dark by Jen Beagin is a sequel to Pretend I’m Dead, which I didn’t realize when I requested this book. However, it really didn’t matter or take away from my enjoyment of the story. This was tragic, weird, strange, dark, funny and did indeed have laugh out loud moments. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this one. And while I’m being honest, I have to say that at the beginning I had a hard time getting into the book and almost chucked it a couple of times. I am glad that I finished. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and this was worth it. This ARC was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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  • Bin
    January 1, 1970
    This book hits all the right notes for me. It has a raw energy that is sad and dark in one moment and laugh-out-loud funny in the next, but mostly it's just very strange. I didn't realize this book is a sequel until I look the author up for other books she has written. I am definitely going to buy the first one to find out how it all began.Thanks you NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Humorously dark. Jen Beagin spins a seemingly ridiculous tale at first which keeps digging deeper and deeper into the dark pasts and dark day dreams of people. The reader is forced into a rollercoaster of uncomfortable emotions paired with serious moments and laugh out loud one liners. Mona embodies more than just your average cleaning lady. She subtly reminds each reader of the “world behind the curtain” or what may be going on in the world of those unseen.
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  • Maude Arcand
    January 1, 1970
    Vacuum in the Dark by Jen Beagin, is the story of Mona a house cleaner who has dialogues with her inner voice, she calls Terry. Mona makes up names for her lovers, Mr Dark, Mr. Disgusting, neighbors, Yoko & Yoko. A lot of toilet talk, poop, stool, smell of urine, with a few cleaning tips thrown in. I did not finish reading this book but having read 30%, I do feel certain that it was not going to be for me.Thank you NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange of an honest opinion.
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  • Jamie Shaw
    January 1, 1970
    Well.......I had to really get my sense of humor in check for this! From the first page I was like, “who writes this stuff?” It is raw and hilarious. Disturbingly funny at times. Sad at other times. I don’t usually indulge in this genre of book but was pleased to veer off my usual path and have a few good laughs. Thank you to Scribner for the ARC.
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  • Aida Alberto
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and all opinions are my own. really enjoyed reading this book. I love the author's writing style and I loved the laugh out loud moments peppered within the story. I highly recommend this book if you're looking for something highly entertaining. Happy reading!
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  • James Beggarly
    January 1, 1970
    Great lead character! She takes us through the bizarre homes she cleans for a living, through her past and shares her debilitating love life, all while talking to her imaginary friend, radio personality Terry Gross. An honest, funny and very sexy book.
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  • Darren
    January 1, 1970
    I got this as a arc e book from net galley. I enjoyed reading it. It had a good story to it. It is made for the 18+ crowd because of the content in it. It is my first book by this author. I hope to read more books by this author.
  • Annarella
    January 1, 1970
    A good, entertaining book.It's full of a sort of dark humour, with quirky characters and a somewhat weird plot.I can say I liked it even if I was expecting something else.An interesting read experience.Recommended!Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
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