Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Lily King's recipe for Writers & Lovers will entice all readersstart with raw, confessional honesty, add a passion for gourmet food, spice with good and bad sex, mix well with poor judgement, and finally roast all the characters at high heat. If you're looking for a fun escape from these dystopian times, here's your time machine to 1990's Harvard Square. 

A couple of years past thirty, Casey Peabody lives in a dingy room above a garage, working double shifts as a waitress to afford a few early hours to focus exclusively on her literary novel. Unpaid student loans and credit card bills are tossed directly into the garbage. She bikes to work, past squawking geese on the Charles River, her tears mixing with the incessant rain. Casey is mourning her mother's recent death, failed love affairs, and a traumatic childhood. She writes both to escape and to find herself. Her true name isn't even Casey.

"You don't realize how much effort you've put into covering things up until you try to dig them out."

I recommend reading Writers & Lovers slowly to savor the perfect sentences. This a writer's book, expertly crafted but still easy to read. The writing never distracts from the story-telling nor slows the pace. Humorous interludes, passionate moments, and sumptuous descriptions of food brighten the shadows of the backstory. The characters are equally enticing as flawed. It feels so real and familiar. This marvelous book captures, more than any other I've ever read, the hardships and rewards of the writer's life and gives me hope to keep working on my own novel. 

Writers Disclosure: I have a personal connection to Writers & Lovers. After moving from Cambridge, Massachusetts to coastal Maine, I met Lily at the school our children attended. She looked so familiar, but I couldn't place her until reading her latest book. My husband and I had celebrated anniversaries, special birthdays, and graduate school degrees in the gorgeous rooftop garden of the old Upstairs at the Pudding in Harvard Square. Lily had been the perfect waitress, remembering everything without writing it down...until now. Brava, Lily!

My author interview and review of Euphoria (Lily King's previous novel).

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@Barrie Summy