Social Creature by Tara Isabella  Burton
(Raven Books (Bloomsbury), 2018)

Social Creature

by Tara Isabella Burton

A friendship to die for.

A Ripley story for the Instagram age set in contemporary New York; a world at once sophisticated and sordid, irresistible and irresponsible, unforgettable yet unattainable

Louise is struggling to survive in New York; juggling a series of poorly paid jobs, renting a shabby flat, being cat-called by her creepy neighbour, she dreams of being a writer. And then one day she meets Lavinia. Lavinia who has everything - looks, money, clothes, friends, an amazing apartment.

Lavinia invites Louise into her charmed circle, takes her to the best parties, bars, the opera, shares her clothes, her coke, her Uber account. Louise knows that this can’t last for ever, but just how far is she prepared to go to have this life? Or rather, to have Lavinia’s life?


Sharp as a shard of broken mirror...a formidable burlesque by Tara Isabella Burton. Her obvious model is Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley [but] Burton's tale has a great deal to say about the very tangible conventions of our time. Its superb dialogue and cutting sense of humor help it glide irresistibly toward the unnerving moment when Louise has to decide whether to kill again.”
- New York Times Book Review
Religion and culture writer Burton's first foray into long-form fiction is at once a thrilling and provocative crime novel, a devastating exploration of female insecurity, and a scathing indictment of society's obsession with social media.”
- Kirkus, starred review
A compulsively readable, razor sharp novel of manners for the social media age. Edith Wharton meets Patricia Highsmith”
- Carol Goodman, bestselling author of The Lake of Dead Languages and The Widow’s House
Fans of the cult classic Poison Ivy will appreciate the mousy girl–wild girl dynamic on display in Burton’s fiendishly clever debut… an ingenious dark thriller in the Patricia Highsmith Tom Ripley mode. Louise and Lavinia are bold, brilliant characters. This devious, satisfying novel perfectly captures a very narrow slice of the Manhattan demimonde.”
- Publishers Weekly
A mesmerising and beautifully lyrical debut about sexuality, identity, envy, confusion, and the creepy ways in which we swallow one another in attempt to become ourselves”
- Swan Huntley, author of The Goddesses and We Could
A mesmerising and beautifully lyrical debut about sexuality, identity, envy, confusion, and the creepy ways in which we swallow one another in attempt to become ourselves”
- Emma Flint, author of Baileys Prize longlisted Little Deaths
Burton creates a tense world of escalating artifice that is choked with ambition and FOMO. The result is a pleasurable blend of anxiety and thrill that deepens with each new instance of narcissistic cruelty. Social Creature is a millennial update to Ripley, in a digital world where identity is even more porous and easily hijacked, and the fun of watching selves be invented is matched by the nastiness with which they are destroyed.”
- Caite Dolan-Leach, author of Dead Letters
One of the most anticipated releases of the summer is Tara Isabella Burton’s Social Creature – a Talented Mr Ripley-esque story that mischievously weaves around the envy and obsession of social media... Finding herself in the orbit of Lavinia, a well-connected literary party girl dripping in cocktails and vintage haute couture paid for by her trust fund, Louise soon becomes obsessed with her new friend and a life that seems tantalisingly out of her reach. Total, brilliant carnage ensues…”
- Emerald Street
Glittering, breathless, and precise - Social Creature fearlessly explores identity in the modern world through a dangerous and magnetic friendship. Tara Isabella Burton's prose is electrifying, her characters dazzlingly bright. This novel will consume you”
- Danya Kukafka, bestselling author of Girl in Snow
Unflinching, cool, brutal. This book will make you its accomplice. You'll go willingly”
- Georgia Clark, author of The Regulars