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"I loved this book not just from the first chapter or the first page but from the first paragraph... The voice is just so honest and riveting and insightful about creativity and life." --Curtis Sittenfeld
An extraordinary new novel of art, love, and ambition from Lily King, the New York Times bestselling author of Euphoria
Following the breakout success of her critically acclaimed and award-winning novel Euphoria, Lily King returns with another instant New York Times bestseller: an unforgettable portrait of an artist as a young woman.
Blindsided by her mother's sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan. Her mail consists of wedding invitations and final notices from debt collectors. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, moldy room at the side of a garage where she works on the novel she's been writing for six years. At thirty-one, Casey is still clutching onto something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, her world fractures even more. Casey's fight to fulfill her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink.
Writers & Lovers follows Casey--a smart and achingly vulnerable protagonist--in the last days of a long youth, a time when every element of her life comes to a crisis. Written with King's trademark humor, heart, and intelligence, Writers & Lovers is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another.
- ISBN-13: 9780802148537
- ISBN-10: 0802148530
- Publisher: Grove Press
- Publish Date: March 2020
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Page Count: 320
Writers & Lovers
Once in a while you come across a novel whose protagonist is so engaging that you find yourself thinking, Oh no! or Don’t do that! interspersed with sighs of relief and some heartfelt rejoicing when things go right for a change. Lily King’s Writers & Lovers is one of those novels.
Casey Kasem, née Camila Peabody, is a struggling writer trying (and failing) to make ends meet as a waitress, living in her landlord’s converted shed and walking his dog in the morning to get a break on the rent. She lacks health insurance. She’s $70K in debt, and though she has many supportive friends, her love life is a shambles. On top of this, her beloved mother recently died, suddenly and prematurely, and no one seems to know why. Casey’s father, a pervert who’s bitter over Casey’s failure to become a golf pro, is a waste of space.
King is one of those rare writers who can entwine sadness, hilarity and burning fury in the briefest of moments. There’s a lot of this in her restaurant scenes, which are so finely observed that you may wonder if King ever worked in a sad little eatery once upon a time. Though some of Casey’s co-workers are funny and caring, others leave her quivering with rage. The moment when she finally quits (or is fired) will make you want to put on Johnny Paycheck’s “Take This Job and Shove It” and dance around the room.
Casey’s story, like so many stories in real life, is messy. She’s messy. But Lily King’s book isn’t. It’s a pleasure.
King’s other characters are just as well drawn, including Oscar, Casey’s somewhat older lover. He’s a successful writer, a widower, a Kevin Costner look-alike and father of two adorably rambunctious boys. Then there’s Casey’s other lover, Silas, who’s younger and unsettled. King doesn’t hesitate to bring up how financial insecurity impacts love; should Casey move in with Oscar and the boys just because she’s about to be evicted and can’t afford rent? Nor can Casey choose whether to write for love or money; she has to write for both reasons.
Though the year is young, this reviewer thinks the word for 2020 is going to be “messy.” Casey’s story, like so many stories in real life, is messy. She’s messy. But King’s book isn’t. It’s a pleasure.