Named one of the most anticipated books of 2021 by a number of publications, Fiona Mozley’s new novel Hot Stew centers around a battle for an unassuming property in London’s prime neighborhood of Soho. A young millionaire and two brothel workers vie for their claim in the property in a story of wealth and inheritance, gender and power, and two women’s survival. Mozley joined us for a conversation celebrating the launch of the book with Arianna Rebolini (Public Relations), author and books editor for BuzzFeed News.
By Fiona Mozley
Published by Algonquin Books
In the middle of the bustle of London’s Soho, among the theaters and sex shops and pubs, sits a building. It isn’t particularly assuming. But it’s a prime piece of real estate, and a young millionaire, Agatha Howard, wants to convert it into luxury condos as soon as she can kick out all the tenants.
The problem is, the building in question houses a brothel, and Precious and Tabitha, two of the women who live and work there, are not going to go quietly. And another problem is, just where did Agatha’s fortune come from? The fight over this piece of property also draws in the men who visit, including Robert, a one-time member of a far-right group and enforcer for Agatha’s father; Jackie, a policewoman intent on making London a safer place for all women; Bastian, a rich and dissatisfied party boy who pines for an ex-girlfriend; and a collection of vagabonds and strays who occupy the basement. In this much-anticipated follow-up to Fiona Mozley’s brilliant debut, Elmet, as these characters—with surprising hidden connections and shadowy pasts—converge, the fight over the property boils over into a hot stew.
Entertaining, sharply funny, and dazzlingly accomplished, Hot Stew confronts questions about wealth and inheritance, gender and power, and the things women must do to survive in an unjust world.