Tag Archives: Tampa

[REVIEW] Tampa – Alissa Nutting

Alissa Nutting
HarperCollins Ecco (CA: 24th June 2013; US: 2nd July 2013); Faber (UK & AU: 1st August 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Youth can’t be maintained forever. This theme has been done often enough in fiction, referring to the lead character. Alissa Nutting’s Tampa subverts this by introducing a narrator who tries to maintain her lovers’ youth. Celeste Price is a twenty-six-year-old teacher of high school English. Her preferred lovers are fourteen-year-old male students.

This is not a romance, nor presented as one. Instead, it’s a tale of psychological suspense, even a crime thriller – you know something bad will go down, but how is less certain.

Celeste’s voice grips right away, and though one can’t condone her perversion, she’s a great teacher, really engaging the classes in the core texts. And though she initially does it for selfish reasons, she seems to care about a fellow teacher’s wellbeing. She’s not the type of person to have friends, but Janet is the closest.

Tampa is a sordid tale with a sharp voice and strong narrator. Celeste Price is a fully-formed anti-hero, who’s as smart, funny, and just plain interesting as she is depraved. Tampa may be marketed as literary fiction, but it’s a modern noir with a particularly memorable femme fatale. I’m so looking forward to whatever Alissa Nutting writes next.