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Writers & Lovers
Cover of Writers & Lovers
Writers & Lovers
A Novel
by Lily King

"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

#ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today
Emma Roberts Belletrist Book Club Pick
A New York Times Book Review's Group Text Selection

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.

"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

#ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today
Emma Roberts Belletrist Book Club Pick
A New York Times Book Review's Group Text Selection

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.

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About the Author-
  • Lily King is the author of the novels The Pleasing Hour, The English Teacher, Father of the Rain, and Euphoria, one of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2014 and winner of the Kirkus Prize. She lives in Maine.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2019

    A former golf prodigy devastated by her mother's death and a bad affair, Casey Peabody waits tables in Harvard Square, lives in a musty hole-in-the-wall, and continues work on the novel she's been writing for six years. At 31, she's been mostly left behind by friends who've dropped their dreams for security, but even as she stays loyal to the creative life, she falls for two very different men. King's first novel since 2014's Euphoria, a New York Times Top Ten book and National Book Critics Circle finalist that sold over 400,000 copies in North America; expect major promo and a 20-city tour.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 16, 2019
    King’s, elegant, droll follow-up to Euphoria traces an aspiring novelist’s effort to find herself after turning 30 and losing her mother. After a series of lovers and moves, Casey Peabody ends up alone in Boston, Mass., with nothing to hold onto. Her commitment to writing each morning keeps her at a dead-end waitressing job that barely covers her grungy rented room and the minimum payments for the massive debt she incurred for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Her devastating grief for her mother, whose unexplained death occurred while vacationing abroad, can only be assuaged, she feels, by finishing the novel she’s been working on for six years (“I don’t write because I think I have something to say. I write because if I don’t, everything feels even worse”). She begins dating the successful writer Oscar Kolton, as well as one of his students, and finds new inspiration in the romances (“Usually a man in my life slows my work down, but it turns out two men give me fresh energy”). Facing the impending loss of her apartment, she fears that living with one of her lovers would expose her “blighted” dysfunction. While King’s resolutions of Casey’s financial, emotional, and creative challenges don’t feel uniformly convincing, the nimble, astute narration appeals. This meditation on the passing of youth is touching and ruefully funny. Agent: Julie Barer, the Book Group.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from September 15, 2019
    A Boston-area waitress manages debt, grief, medical troubles, and romantic complications as she finishes her novel. "There are so many things I can't think about in order to write in the morning," Casey explains at the opening of King's (Euphoria, 2014, etc.) latest. The top three are her mother's recent death, her crushing student loans, and the married poet she recently had a steaming-hot affair with at a writer's colony. But having seen all but one of her writer friends give up on the dream, 31-year-old Casey is determined to stick it out. After those morning hours at her desk in her teensy garage apartment, she rides her banana bike to work at a restaurant in Harvard Square--a setting the author evokes in delicious detail, recalling Stephanie Danler's Sweetbitter, though with a lighter touch. Casey has no sooner resolved to forget the infidel poet than a few more writers show up on her romantic radar. She rejects a guy at a party who reveals he's only written 11 1/2 pages in three years--"That kind of thing is contagious"--to find herself torn between a widowed novelist with two young sons and a guy with an irresistible broken tooth from the novelist's workshop. Casey was one of the top two golfers in the country when she was 14, and the mystery of why she gave up the sport altogether is entangled with the mystery of her estrangement from her father, the latter theme familiar from King's earlier work. In fact, with its young protagonist, its love triangle, and its focus on literary ambition, this charmingly written coming-of-age story would be an impressive debut novel. But after the originality and impact of Euphoria, it might feel a bit slight. Read this for insights about writing, about losing one's mother, about dealing with a cranky sous-chef and a difficult four-top.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from February 1, 2020
    Grieving her mother's recent death, newly heartbroken, and shouldering crushing student debt, Casey lives in her brother's annoying friend's moldy Boston coach house, working on her novel in the mornings and waitressing at a swanky Cambridge restaurant at seemingly all other hours. A book-release party introduces two points of the love triangle Casey becomes entangled in: novelist Oscar, and one of his workshop students, Silas. Widowed, Oscar approaches Casey with a mix of awe and apprehension, and Casey falls easily into his life with his two young sons. Silas, meanwhile, intrigues with his humor, chipped tooth, and leather jacket, but hits the road just when he shouldn't. The romance will draw readers in, but Casey's journey as a writer, alone, is the book's strongest magnet. Despite being reminded of the foolhardy notion that women writers could have anything to say at all, she finishes a draft and isn't prepared for what this unleashes. With deep and sensationally wrought feeling?Casey feels her anxiety as swarming bees, and as if she "swallowed" her dead mother?King (Euphoria, 2014) leaves no barrier between readers and smart, genuine, cynical, and funny Casey. A closely observed tale of finding oneself, and one's voice, while working through grief.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge "Gorgeous!"
  • Elin Hilderbrand, author of Summer of '69 "Writers & Lovers stole my heart from its first pages. I am in love with this book. In. Love. This deep dive of a novel will stay with me forever."
  • New York Times Book Review Praise for Euphoria
    "Taut, witty, fiercely intelligent... King is brilliant."
  • San Francisco Chronicle "Intense, seductive, sexual, and intellectual... There are so many exhilarating elements to savor in Euphoria... Brava to Lily King."
  • Newsday "As concentrated as orchid food, packing as much narrative power and intellectual energy into its 250 pages as novels triple its size."
  • Washington Post Praise for Father of the Rain
    "Surprising and wise...An absorbing, insightful story written in cool, polished prose right to the last conflicted line."
  • New York Times Book Review "King is a beautiful writer, with equally strong gifts for dialogue and internal monologue."
  • Elle "Haunting, incisive...King is brilliant."
  • Chicago Tribune "An excellent novel, sensitive and perceptive."
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