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Writers & Lovers: A Novel Paperback – February 16, 2021

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of March 2020: At 31, Casey is still holding onto her dream of being a novelist. Most of her artist friends have given up their artist dreams for more practical, and lucrative, endeavors; but Casey writes and makes ends meet by waitressing and walking her landlord’s dog. Writers & Lovers is Lily King’s follow up to her 2014 breakthrough novel Euphoria, which was loosely based on the experiences of Margaret Mead, and one might expect King to tread a similar path in this new book. But this is a different novel altogether. That said, it’s a very enjoyable read, a breath of fresh air, with characters that leap off the page. Writers & Lovers is about the uncertainty of dating, and of pursuing the creative life, in a world that values success and stability. Life does not wait for Casey to fulfill her dream, if that dream even comes. So she works and she dates, and she tries to figure it out as she goes. Love and art require daily, often imperceptible, leaps of faith—and this book captures that perfectly. —Chris Schluep, the Amazon Book Review


Praise for Writers & Lovers:

New York Times Bestseller 
New England Society's Book Award for Fiction
Named one of The Best Fiction Books of 2020 by Kirkus
One of Washington Post's 10 Best Books of 2020
A New York Times Book Review’s Group Text Selection
Amazon Spotlight Selection
Indie Next Pick
Named one of The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2020 by Entertainment Weekly
Named one of 41 Best Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2020 by Vogue
Named one of 19 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2020 by The Amazon Book Review
Named one of The 2020 Books You Should Pre-Order Now by Marie Claire
Named one of 32 Best New Books of 2020 by Vulture
Named one of The Best New Books in Pick of the Week by People
Named One of Lit Hub's Most Anticipated Books of 2020

“[A] comic and compassionate novel… It shares with [Euphoria] a fascination with the difficulty of defining the worth of one’s life when the familiar markers of adult achievement are slow to materialize. With wit and what reads like deep insider wisdom, Ms. King captures the chronic low-level panic of taking a leap into the artsy unknown and finding yourself adrift, without land or rescue in sight.” —Maureen Corrigan, Wall Street Journal

"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, London Evening Standard

“[D]elightful… [A]n unmistakable broadside against fiction’s love affair with macho strivers, even — or especially — when layers of lyricism and tenderness coat their machismo. The emotional force of Writers & Lovers is considerable…" New York Times Book Review

“Romance isn’t the point for Casey. Love is the gravy; words are the filet. Finding a way to build a life around work she loves, finding a way to support herself as a writer — this is the line connecting all three corners of the love triangle at the heart of this novel.” —New York Times Book Review, Group Text Book Club

“This smooth, deliberate chronicle of creation keeps the men in their place and Casey firmly rooted at the center of her own story. Instead of casting her as a woman torn between archetypes of male creativity, Writers & Lovers portrays her as a woman in thrall to her own generative processes, a devotee to the art of (her own) attention.” Los Angeles Times

“Among the elements that make Writers & Lovers so winning are the perfectly calibrated little details, convincing conversations, and droll wit…. Writers & Lovers is a book about passion, desire, grief, determination, and finding one's way. It's also about craving love, family, and success… generously infused with heart and soul and wit and wisdom.” —NPR

“Wonderful, witty, heartfelt… Writers & Lovers is a funny novel about grief, and, worse, it’s dangerously romantic, bold enough and fearless enough to imagine the possibility of unbounded happiness.” Washington Post

“King has created a woman on the cusp of personal fulfillment and strong enough to stand on her own, someone akin to Sally Rooney’s Frances in Conversations with Friends... But King also situates Casey inside a variation of the which-lover-will-she-choose framework of, say, Nancy Meyers’s film Something’s Gotta Give... The novel is a meditation on trying itself: to stay alive, to love, to care. That point feels so fresh, so powerfully diametrically opposed to the readily available cynicism we’ve been feasting on... King wants us to keep trying, through whatever means necessary, to beat the odds.” Boston Globe

“[A] poignant and heartfelt novel about the effects of grief and the paths people take to get through life. I couldn’t put the book down…” —Seattle Times

“This novel will become a defining classic for struggling young writers.”Vulture

"King captures the agita of an early-life crisis and the eccentricities of a writer’s life, spiking the narrative with wit, sumptuous imagery and hilarious skewerings of literary elitism." People

“King 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.”Booklist (starred review)

"[A] charmingly written coming of age story." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[I]ntimate and vulnerable... Lily King's novel follows a deeply relatable protagonist navigating a whole menu of crises surrounded by a cast of genuine, vivid characters... the book occupies a small space, but packs it to the brim with humanity." Entertainment Weekly

“[A] down-to-earth saga of an extremely bright and likable single woman wrestling with sexual desires, emotional dreads… an engaging portrait of a woman confronting modern hardships.” —Associated Press

“King has portrayed effectively and compassionately with well-crafted prose, evocative descriptions, and spot-on dialogue.” New York Journal of Books

"[F]unny and romantic and hard to put down, full of well-observed details of restaurant culture and writer's workshops. It's hard to imagine a reader who wouldn't root for Casey." Library Journal (starred review)

 "A knowing look at the pursuit of a life in the arts, with a protagonist you'll root for." Marie Claire

 “Elegant… The nimble, astute narration appeals. This meditation on the passing of youth is touching and ruefully funny.” Publishers Weekly

“King is one of those rare writers who can entwine sadness, hilarity and burning fury in the briefest of moments.” BookPage

“[A]n extraordinary novel… King beautifully documents every aspect of Casey’s character. Casey’s insights into the world of writing are fascinating nd often humorous…. The prose [is] linguistically sophisticated, clean and uncluttered.” Midwest Book Review

“Seemingly light and breezy, the novel has an impressively steely core… Writers & Lovers has one of the most completely satisfying endings around, both surprising and solidly in character.” Columbus Dispatch

“[R]emarkably funny… full of moments of keen observation, of wry remarks about the challenges of writing and the awkwardness of early love.” Bookreporter

Writers & Lovers made me happy. Even as the narrator grieves the loss of her mother and struggles to make art and keep a roof over her head, the novel is suffused with hopefulness and kindness. Lily King writes with a great generosity of spirit." —Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House

“Lily King is one of our great literary treasures and Writers & Lovers is suffused with her brilliance. It is captivating, potent, incisive, and wise, a moving story of grief, and recovering from grief, and of a young woman finding her courage for life.” —Madeline Miller, author of Circe

“Gorgeous!” —Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge

"Writers & Lovers is a portrait of the artist as a young woman. Lily King writes masterfully about desire and loss, creativity and inspiration, and how each overlaps and influences the other. I found myself reading slowly, underlining phrases, wanting to linger in the world of this novel. Her insights about love — how it is elusive and ineffable — and about grief — how it is something that you live inside — took my breath away.” —Christina Baker Kline, author of A Piece of the World

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.” —Elin Hilderbrand, author of Summer of ‘69

“My favourite of Lily King’s books so far. Exuberant and affirming, it’s funny and immensely clever, emotionally rare and strong. I feel bereft now I've finished.” —Tessa Hadley, author of Late In The Day

"If you loved The Friend but wish it had had more sex and waitressing, get ready for Lily King’s Writers and Lovers. Delicious.” —Emma Straub

Praise for Euphoria:

“Taut, witty, fiercely intelligent… King is brilliant.” New York Times Book Review

“Intense, seductive, sexual, and intellectual… There are so many exhilarating elements to savor in Euphoria… Brava to Lily King.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“As concentrated as orchid food, packing as much narrative power and intellectual energy into its 250 pages as novels triple its size.” Newsday

“Atmospheric and sensual… An intellectually stimulating tour de force.” —NPR

Praise for Father of the Rain:

“Surprising and wise…An absorbing, insightful story written in cool, polished prose right to the last conflicted line.” Washington Post

“King is a beautiful writer, with equally strong gifts for dialogue and internal monologue.” New York Times Book Review

“Haunting, incisive…King is brilliant.” Elle

“An excellent novel, sensitive and perceptive.” Chicago Tribune

Always the perfect gift

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Grove Press; Reprint edition (February 16, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0802148549
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0802148544
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.25 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 7,470 ratings

About the author

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Lily King grew up in Massachusetts and received her B.A. in English Literature from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her M.A. in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. She has taught English and Creative Writing at several universities and high schools in this country and abroad.

Lily’s first novel, The Pleasing Hour (1999) won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award and was a New York Times Notable Book and an alternate for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her second, The English Teacher, was a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year, a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year, and the winner of the Maine Fiction Award. Her third novel, Father of the Rain (2010), was a New York Times Editors Choice, a Publishers Weekly Best Novel of the Year and winner of both the New England Book Award for Fiction and the Maine Fiction Award. Lily's new novel, Euphoria, was released in June 2014. It has drawn significant acclaim so far, being named an Amazon Book of the Month, on the Indie Next List, and hitting numerous summer reading lists from The Boston Globe to O Magazine and USA Today. Reviewed on the cover of The New York Times, Emily Eakin called Euphoria, “a taut, witty, fiercely intelligent tale of competing egos and desires in a landscape of exotic menace.”

Lily is the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award. Her short fiction has appeared in literary magazines including Ploughshares and Glimmer Train, as well as in several anthologies.

Customer reviews

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