Emily Schultz’s latest novel portrays a world in which blondes definitely do not have more fun.
The Blondes revolves around the experience of Hazel Hayes, a pregnant graduate student living in New York City who lives through a global pandemic that the media calls “The Blonde Fury.” The Fury is an epidemic in which unprovoked deadly attacks are committed by light-haired women. This pandemic thrusts the world into disarray as a general distrust and apprehension of fair-haired women creates tension within society. After a series of alarming incidents, Hazel eventually finds herself abandoned by her only companion in an isolated cottage in rural Ontario. Hazel narrates her story for her unborn child, both to pass the time and to hold on to her last ounce of sanity.
However, shockingly, the pandemic functions simply as an entertaining backdrop to the novel’s true purpose. In reality, Schultz is more interested in portraying how women are perceived, particularly by other women. Her protagonist is often pessimistic about the bonds of sisterhood, having no close female relations in her past. However, as the story progresses, we see that Hazel is in fact aided during each stage of the pandemic by women who are just as jeopardized and helpless as herself. Schultz has developed a very real and complex case study of the female psyche, embedded in a thrilling, fictitious setting.