“Affecting narrative about consent, power and loneliness.”—Time
“Intoxicatingly ominous.”—Kirkus Reviews
In a hothouse of collegiate sex and ambition, one young woman mysteriously disappears after a wild campus party, and another becomes obsessed with finding her.
It’s Halloween night on a pastoral East Coast college campus. Scantily costumed students ride the fine line between adolescence and adulthood as they prepare for a night of drinking and debauchery. Expectations are high as Leda flirts with her thrilling new crush, Ian, and he flirts back. But by the end of the night, things will have taken a turn.
A mysterious young woman in a swan costume speaks with Leda outside a party—and then vanishes. When Leda later wakes up in Ian’s room the next morning, she is unsure exactly what happened between them. Meanwhile, as the campus rouses itself to respond to the young woman’s disappearance, rumors swirl, suspicious facts pile up, and Leda’s obsession with her missing classmate grows. Is it just a coincidence that Ian used to date Charlotte, the missing woman? Is Leda herself in danger? As Leda becomes more and more dangerously consumed with the mystery of Charlotte and questions about Ian, her motivations begin to blur. Is Leda looking for Charlotte, or trying to find herself?
In Leda and the Swan, Anna Caritj’s riveting storytelling brings together a suspenseful plot; an intimate, confessional voice; and invaluable insights into sex, power, and contemporary culture.
About the Author
Anna Caritj holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MFA in creative writing from Hollins University. She lives in Virginia with her husband. Leda and the Swan is her first novel.
Praise for Leda and the Swan:
“A propulsive and beautifully written campus thriller." —People
“This thrilling debut novel from Anna Caritj gives the beloved campus novel an electric shot of mystery and, as its name suggests, offers a twist on classic notions of power and lust.” —Town & Country
"[A] master class in atmosphere, so intoxicatingly ominous . . . A lonely, brooding page-turner about agency, identity, and consent." —Kirkus Reviews
“Affecting narrative about consent, power and loneliness.” —Time "If you’re a fan of books about ivory towers with dark secrets, consider Leda and the Swan a must-read new entry.” —Harper's Bazaar, "Best Summer Books of Summer 2021"
“Long on atmosphere, a spooky-bucolic campus setting, and the strong character building of its tough, guarded protagonist . . . Like the myth of its title, Caritj's novel entangles the vulnerability and agency of young, mortal women.” —Booklist
"Caritj pulls off a smart twist on the campus novel in her thrilling debut. . . . an engrossing tale about the nature of consent, sexual violence, and performative activism . . . The book’s strength is in Caritj’s prose, as she builds a brilliant contrast between the quotidian nature of college life and postadolescent feeling of otherworldliness. . . . This thoughtful exploration of contemporary sexual politics hits the spot." —Publishers Weekly
"Delivering a suspenseful plot and a necessary conversation around sex, consent, and power, this thrilling debut novel by Anna Caritj is one you won't want to put down." —Women's Day
“A thrilling mystery that is a twist on a classic story. Caritj provides readers with an enthralling and page-turning debut. At its core, Leda is a captivating and suspenseful mystery that blossoms into an insightful commentary on ambition and sex in contemporary society.” —Debutiful
“Leda and the Swan had me totally enthralled. Anna Caritj has created a haunting and irresistibly intimate voice in Leda, a young woman navigating the bacchanalia of college Greek life against a riptide of both personal and public grief. This novel is a lush thrill.” —Kate Reed Petty, author of True Story
“A riveting debut. At once a contemplative novel about a young woman finding her footing in this uncertain world, and a propulsive page turning. A stunning read and an incisive new voice in fiction.” —Dana Czapnik, author of The Falconer
“Tense and terrifying and beautifully observed, Anna Caritj’s accomplished debut is a propulsive journey into the dark heart of undergraduate life. Leda and the Swan is both a thriller and a gorgeously crafted exploration of loss, grief, and the painful, dangerous work of finding oneself. An exhilarating novel!” —Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of The Five Wounds
“Dark, delicious, and dangerous . . . Leda’s story is electrifying. I read with bated breath, wondering the entire time what would become of the missing girl, what would become of Leda. Caritj evokes a college world that is at once familiar and transporting, thrilling and terrifying. As Leda grapples with crucial, age-old questions about desire and consent, Caritj’s plot offers a powerful modern twist.” —Anton DiSclafani, author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls