Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency
Myriad Editions
Publication date
February 20, 2014


Author: Nina de la Mer

Arriving in London, Hayleigh finds work as lap dancer ‘Layla.’ Determined to beat the sleaze and the system, her plan is to make enough money to prove to the world, and her mother, that she is a fit parent. Layla survives on wit and skillful moves, confident of her looks and in her ability to exploit men before they can exploit her. Avoiding the changing-room politics and staggering through boozy nights, she sweet talks her boss, dodges stalking clients and keeps the truth from her housemates. But over the course of a chaotic week, a series of shocking events forces changes.

Hello! Magazine Book of the Week

Scottish Book Trust 2014 Pick of the Year

"The energy and realism that characterised de la Mer's debut, 4a.m., is taken up a seemingly impossible few notches in this perceptive and forceful tale... The second-person narrative is also more than experimental, suiting well the sense of menace that pervades Hayleigh's night-time world." Leslie McDowell, Herald Scotland
"Scottish fiction of the year for me is Brighton-based Nina de la Mer's hypnotising Layla." Herald Scotland, Books of the Year
"Blisteringly good read... Hayleigh's idiosyncratic voice is easy to love and you can't help but be drawn to this brilliant, searingly honest and darkly funny character." Hello! Magazine
"An authentic work of modern feminism... [Layla] is a character who penetrates deep and leaves a lasting impression, as does de la Mer. The List
"Nina de la Mer's second novel drops you right into the heart of Soho's lap dancing scene...in a second-person narrative so immersive you can practically smell the baby oil...you're swept along by the vivacity and personality of the incident-prone protagonist, with a voice that'll stick in your head after you've finished reading." Londonist
"Compelling commentary on fantasy versus reality in the sex industry... The hooker with a heart of gold may be something of a cliché in movies, but de la Mer has elevated Hayleigh's story to something much more literary. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Layla is a new Tess of the d'Urbervilles for our time." Bookkaholic
"A brilliant novel, gripping and engaging from the first page and cannot be praised too highly: talented writing; brilliant characterisation; a wonderful story of our time. This is a must read." bookgroup.info
"The story unfolds day-by-day over a tumultuous week, with the present tense conveying a palpable urgency.The second-person narrative has an almost confrontational tone, drawing 'you', the reader, into Layla's chaotic world... Each chapter reads like a diary entry, punctuated by unanswered messages gathering dust in Hayleigh's inbox. These cryptic texts denote a gulf between what Hayleigh chooses to reveal, and what she keeps hidden and these omissions can be as telling as the fragments we are allowed to see... [For] lovers of Brit Lit with added grit." For Books Sake
"Hayleigh's not a perfect heroine, but she is gutsy and worth rooting for. De la Mer also grasps the darkness of the city at night." Emerald Street