Reviews for My Nemesis.

Publishers Weekly
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Craig (Miss Burma) offers a swift and cutting examination of a rivalry between two women. Two middle-aged married couples meet for dinner in Los Angeles. On one side of the table is Wah, a mixed-race Asian woman who published a book about Htet, the 15-year-old Burmese girl she adopted with Charlie, her husband of 20 years. On the other is Tessa, a successful white memoirist from New York in her second marriage to Milton, who sees Wah as dependent and insecure and, believing herself to be a feminist, tells Wah she’s “an insult to womankind.” Tessa finds Charlie, on the other hand, intellectually and emotionally attractive, and later gets him to confide that he’d struggled to support Wah’s decision to adopt Htet. Milton also enjoys Charlie’s company, though Tessa’s flirtation with Charlie exposes the cracks in her marriage. Later, the three discuss a failed film adaptation of Wah’s book, which was scrapped after the studio couldn’t find a South Asian woman to direct (“My point is that we’re heading dangerously toward a kind of segregationism in the name of morality,” says Charlie). The writing is biting and propulsive as allegiances shift and Tessa realizes she’s misjudged Wah. This confident work is sure to spark conversations. Agent: Ellen Levine; Trident Media. (Feb.)

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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

The complicated relationship between memoirist Tessa and professor and philosopher Charlie becomes an entry to a layered exploration of the perception of the self and the outside world. Craig (Miss Burma, 2017) is masterful in her use of her characters’ preoccupations with Camus and Nietzsche and their detailed conversations analyzing their attitudes to life, love, and relationships to create a framework for Tess' troubled marriage to Milton and interactions with their daughter, Nora, as well as Tess' deeply challenging relationship with Charlie’s wife, Wah. The story of Wah’s adoptive daughter, Htet, ensures that this is not only a novel about cerebral connections and armchair analysis. A simple plot summary cannot capture the depth of Craig's treatment of such big themes as femininity and masculinity, motherhood and fatherhood, friendship and love. Wah and Tessa, in their mutual if undefined distrust and discomfort, are juxtaposed against each other for much of the book but in a way that undercuts reductionist assumptions. Craig offers an effective inquiry into the elusive nature of intimate relationships, whether they stem from love or hate.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

An emotional affair toxically intertwines the lives of two families. After writing a book about Camus, Tessa receives a letter from Charlie, a philosophy professor, and the two begin an intense correspondence. Milton, Tessa’s second husband, also strikes up a friendship with Charlie, but Tessa increasingly finds herself at odds with Charlie’s wife, Wah. Wah is an accomplished lecturer and writer and is also quite devoted to the couple’s 15-year-old adopted daughter, Htet, who was a victim of child trafficking in Malaysia (and about whom she has written a book). This dedication contrasts with Tessa’s more distant approach with her own daughter, Nora. Nine months into the couples’ friendship, Tessa accuses Wah, whom she sees as weak, of being “an insult to womankind,” a blow from which neither couple, nor their friendships, can recover, and which ultimately forces Tessa and Charlie to reckon with the pain their relationship has caused their spouses. Craig has crafted an intense portrayal of an intellectual affair as well as a private competition between two women with perfectly balanced moments of tension and introspection. The relationship between Tessa and Charlie deeply depends on their conversations about Camus and Nietzsche, whom they reference heavily to work through their own attitudes toward each other and the world. Yet as distant and self-assured as Tessa is, Craig never lets her first-person narrator off the hook, as she must acknowledge her own role in the disintegration of every meaningful relationship she has. Cerebral and tense. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.