From the Jacket
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 hadn’t read anything by Lily King until WRITERS & LOVERS, but I remember her last novel, EUPHORIA, being a hit when it came out back in 2014. I loved the sound of WRITERS & LOVERS, particularly because, as a bookworm and writer, I love reading about bookworms and writers. King’s main character Casey is a waitress/writer combo on the brink of her thirties, working on finishing a novel while mourning boyfriends gone awry as well as the recent, shocking loss of her mother.
“What I have had for the past six years, what has been constant and steady in my life is the novel I’ve been writing. This has been my home, the place I could always retreat to. The place I could sometimes feel powerful.”
Casey is a typical millennial heroine; she’s lived in many different places, held many different jobs, and been in many different relationships. She spends much of her time examining other people’s romantic relationships in comparison to her own, criticizing their faults when it’s clear (at least to the reader) that she hasn’t quite figured it out either. It’s the same with her writing- she belittles her friends for giving up writing and she won’t date a guy who’s only written eleven pages in three years, yet Casey’s been working on the same project for six years with little improvement. Then, with the novel’s conclusion comes a miracle turn-around for Casey, a fairy-tale happy ending in which all of her problems are solved and all her dreams come true without even working too hard!
WRITERS & LOVERS is so well-paced: I couldn’t put it down, and the climax had my heart literally pounding. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it in one night, and I was so immersed in the story that I didn’t even realize how late it was until I put the finished book down!! WRITERS & LOVERS is a really great read; I’d especially recommend it if you’re into novels with privileged millennial drama from authors like Sally Rooney or Emma Straub.
Thank you to Grove Atlantic for my copy of WRITERS & LOVERS by Lily King. All thoughts are my own.