by Lindsey Harding
Acre Books, 2023
Paper: 978-1-946724-69-4 | eISBN: 978-1-946724-70-0

A novel following four passengers on a luxury cruise line that promises complete reinvention through plastic surgery.

PILGRIM, Canterbury Cruise Line’s flagship, promises its passengers not just a luxurious fortnight away but the opportunity for reinvention. This extraordinary journey is made possible by the captain and visionary plastic surgeon Dr. Walter Heston, by the vessel’s self-learning artificial intelligence called BECCA, and an all-male crew of room stewards, deck hands, technicians, and cosmetic practitioners.

Pilgrims 2.0 begins on the eve of Cruise #52 and follows four women eager for transformation. Meet Bianca, the aging athlete determined to resume the competitive tennis career that motherhood sidelined. Meet Nicole, whose mommy makeover will mean she can stop hiding herself, and her debt, from her husband. Meet Lyla, an infertile maternity-ward nurse desperate to experience pregnancy, and Annalie, who wants only to stop seeing her dead twin every time she looks in the mirror. At the center of the story is Dr. Heston himself, driven to do with bodies what his late wife, Rebecca, could do with computer code—make the impossible, possible.

But “excursions” like these aren’t always smooth sailing—especially on this voyage, where the hopes, histories, and obsessions of clients and crew members collide. When a disruptive crewman’s pranks turn dangerous, it becomes clear that some of those who embarked won’t return to the Port of Los Angeles—at least not fully, at least not as themselves, and maybe not with their lives.

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