Sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of self-improvement with Ling Ling Huang’s debut novel “Natural Beauty”, a gripping tale of success and darkness. The protagonist, an unnamed Chinese-American pianist and prodigy, discovers the power of striving for perfection through Holistik, a beauty company which promises to turn its subscribers into the best version of themselves.
At first reluctant to ascribe to their methods, our protagonist soon finds herself swept away into the beauty brand’s lifestyle, using its technologies to transform her skin and her appearance, while her parents face a terrible accident. With its tracking systems, invasive products and its “Dianaism”, a pseudo-religion centering around Princess Diana, Holistik soon becomes an authoritative force that wars with the idea of self-care.
Though young, powerful and attractive, our narrator’s freedom is stripped from them, as her ethnicity and name are unnoticed and unrecognized by customers, which leads to her succumbing to a last name change. She’s asked to put aside her pursuit of happiness in order to stay competitive and successful, and by encouraging its subscribers to fear, Holistik creates a new brand of beauty that ultimately turns self-improvement into a nightmare.
From Huangs mastery over her craft and emotionally powerful storytelling to the company’s draining of workers’ capabilities, NAtural Beauty paints a masterful portrait of vanity, self-care and the race for perfection. As she meditates on how toxic standards of beauty can make us forsake what truly enriches us while slowly taking away our freedom, Huang asks: Is there really a way out from its grip?
Holistik is a beauty company that pushes the boundaries of technology and beauty standards, by squeezing the employees for higher outputs of products and services to their customers. Its usage of tracking systems, invasive products and its “Dianaism”, a pseudo-religion centering around Princess Diana, make Holistik an authoritative force that cages its subscribers in their never ending pursuit of perfection.
Ling Ling Huang is a classically trained violinist and author of “Natural Beauty”. With its lyrical descriptions of compositions and the crushing pursuit of physical perfection, Huang creates an emotionally powerful story that is as airy and adroit as the melodies themselves. Her meditation on how toxic standards of beauty can make us forsake what truly enriches us while slowly taking away our freedom, strikes readers to their core as they cling to what little freedom they possess. Along with her ability to craft poignant music, Huang’s work offers a healing salve for the soul, providing hope for those who find themselves in the same predicament.