Kara has just turned thirty and she's living a fabulous life. She had a gorgeous apartment, designer clothes and a car, all courtesy of the Ebadi's. Leila and Hossein Ebadi are the parents of Kara's best friend, Bobby. Bobby is a one-hit wonder screenwriter and party boy, with a serious failure to launch problem. The Ebadi's have fallen in love with Kara and they fund her lifestyle in hopes that she will marry Bobby. They desperately want to see their son settle down, the only problem is Bobby is gay. Gay and very much in the closet when it comes to his family. The arrangement is mutually beneficially and they keep the guise of being in love to keep the financial benefits from his parents. There are two problems, first, the Ebadi's are not the type of parents to stay uninvolved and second, Kara has met a mysterious man whom intrigues her.
Abdi Nazemian's debut novel, The Walk-In Closet, isn't going to be for everyone. The novel, which centers around the lives of friends in their late 20's/early 30's, living in Los Angeles, is filled with frank and often crass dialogue. It's a bit like Sex and the City for a new generation. I found this often salacious story, to be a guilty pleasure read and I enjoyed every minute of it. That said, I would be very careful of which friends I recommend this novel to, just because of the language and subject matters discussed. It presses comfort levels.
Another layer that made the story compelling, was the peek into a different culture. The Ebadi's have made Kara an honorary member of their family and through this, she learns a lot about Persian culture and the thriving Persian immigrant community in Los Angeles. Growing up in Los Angeles, this is not a community in which I know very many people, so I found it fascinating. Overall, this is a very "Los Angeles" story, filled with many references to the city. I'm not sure how much will be lost on someone who is not familiar with the L.A. As a native, all of the references rang true and felt relevant.
If I were to try to describe these characters, they wouldn't come across as very likable people. They would probably seem shallow and vapid. However, I actually cared for all of them. These are people who are raised during a time of mass consumerism and delayed adulthood. They may have the fortune of being wealthy, but I don't think that makes them unique, it just gives them the ability to consume on a grand scale. These characters feel real, because they are echoed in people that I know. They act the way they do, because it is how they were raised and it's hard to overcome it, especially when the parents keep giving them money. Nazemian has written a very timely story.
The Walk-In Closet is highly entertaining, socially relevant and it even has a few good plot twists. I look forward to future novels by Nazemian, he is a strong new voice in the literary world.