The Service Book
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RELEASE DATE - 8 JULY 2021
Lori works illegally in a rented flat in central London, living in fear of police raids which could mean losing her small daughter and her dream of a new life.
Freya is a student who finds she can make far more money as an escort than she could in an office; life, after all, is already a tangle of madness and dissociation.
And Paula is a journalist whose long-term campaign against prostitution has brought her some strange bedfellows.
After a shock change to the law, with brothels being raided by the authorities, lives across the country are fractured. As a threat from Lori's past begins to catch up with her, the three women are increasingly, inevitably drawn into each other's orbit.
The Service is a powerful and challenging novel about women's bodies, sex and relationships, mental health, entitlement, authenticity, privilege and power - as shocking as any dystopia, but touching and deeply humane.
“With The Service, Frankie Miren centers the sex industry, and women's place within and without, as a ground zero for the joys and struggles of life itself. With a coolly detached yet heartfelt style, the reality of the work and the workers is portrayed in all its boredom and wildness, it's potential for isolation and deep connectivity. Really, it's a story of working-class women and women's sexual autonomy, seen through the prism of varied experience – embodied characters rendered with gripping, deceptively simple prose. A triumph.”
“Novels are often described as ‘brave’ by reviewers, but it’s almost never literally true: in this case it is. Drawn from personal experience and a background in campaign journalism, The Service by Frankie Miren is a gritty portrayal of the realities of sex work. Set in a familiar backdrop of London streets, corner shops and messy family homes, The Service has palpable tension running through it. Miren’s main characters, Lori, Freya, and Paula, constantly grapple with conflicting priorities, with their fears and aspirations – not only for themselves, but those they care about. They struggle with this interconnectedness. Gestures, large and small, ripple outwards to the wider community; the book is among other things a celebration of gutsy grassroots activism and the power of female friendship. Frankie Miren is a storyteller of great integrity and scathing wit. She has crafted an absolute page-turner. A super smart debut with an urgent political message, ultimately one of resilience and hope.”
Katie Ward, author of Girl Reading
”A beautifully written and authentic exploration of the interior life of sex workers, with all its complexity and contradictions. A truly original novel that vibrates with honesty, compassion and a deliciously dark fury. Miren’s writing is equal parts tender, cynical, provocative and magical; a love letter to prostitutes everywhere.”
Juno Mac, co-author of Revolting Prostitutes
”The Service is sharp, nuanced, crushing, terrifying and hopeful. It’s hard to think of a novel that’s more genuinely groundbreaking. For Frankie Miren to offer it up feels like an act of enormous generosity.”