Updated: Mar 1, 2020
A tight, riveting and intimate drama of a woman struggling with the debt, love and the death of her mother.
Casey Peabody gets up early every morning to work on her novel, while trying not to think about her huge college loan debt, love, or her mother’s death while vacationing in Chile last winter. Casey lives in Boston in an old potting shed that smells of mold and decaying leaves. She get a discount on her rent by walking her landlord’s dog. She’s thirty-one and rides an old banana bike she found at the dump, across the Charles River every day to work as a waitress at a restaurant near Harvard Square.
One evening, while attending a literary event she meets the handsome Silas, who she finds kind and interesting. Weeks later, Oscar, who is an established author and had recently lost his wife, walks into her restaurant with his two young sons in tow. Cassie instantly falls in love with the boys and promises to play miniature golf with them soon. Cassie soon finds herself torn between these two different men and two different futures.
WRITERS & LOVERS is a dramatic, moving, and clever chronicle of a woman moving into full adulthood. Thirty-one-year-old Casey is depressed and devastated by her mother’s sudden death, and the end of a romantic relationship.
Author Lily King has brilliantly captured the wretched and desolate thoughts and feelings a daughter experiences following the death of a mother. Not only does King tell us about how Casey and her mom would spend hours talking on the phone, and how Casey wants to call mom to tell her about these men, only to remember she is no longer here.
I adored how King continues with the mother theme as Casey begins reading stories in the biography section of the public library about famous writers and their dead mothers. Among other she shares, that George Eliot’s mother died of breast cancer, to Edith Wharton mother who refused to let Edith read novels until after her marriage.
Despite her grief, Casey refuses to give up on her dream of becoming a author. King effortlessly blends Casey’s financial strain, her love life, her waitressing gig and her six year attempt at writing a novel and takes her to the brink of disaster. You’ll want keep your head in the book to see what happens next.
Casey’s character development was delightful. You can’t help but feel her vulnerability, her pain and her desolation, as well as her courage and strength to never give up on her dream.
Despite the novel’s dramatic tone, it is chocked full of clever and witty quips. One of my favorite’s was Casey’s discussion of authors book cover photos. She shows Silas how male author photo’s alway look so menacing in a ‘I might have to murder you if you don’t read this’ way. Conversely, she shows him how women author photos are pleasing, pleading and even apologetic.
From the squawking Canadian geese at the river to the writers workshop with the blue giraffe, King has written a tight and delightful emotional roller coaster of a read that is not soon forgotten.
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. I read her novel Euphoria (2014) and loved it.
Thanks to Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher Grove Atlantic
Published March 3, 2020