Writers & Lovers by Lily King
Loved this book!
You may know Lily King from her other work: Euphoria, Father of the Rain, The English Teacher, or The Pleasing Hour. I met her when she spoke at the Falmouth Memorial Library after the publication of Euphoria and have anxiously awaited her next novel ever since. King spoke about both her journey to become a writer and her creative process, and I was fascinated. Like a composer showing you their score, King showed us her novel map–a sort of fluid timeline. Fascinating!
Writers & Lovers introduces Casey, who at 31 faces a turning point with her family, her work, her relationships, and most significantly, her dreams. We meet Casey right after her mother dies and her affair ends, recently relocated to Cambridge. Casey is saddled with debt, but still holds to her dream of publishing the novel she has been writing for the last 6 years. To make ends meet and keep her creditors at bay, she lives in the garage room of a friend of her brother’s, and waits tables at an upscale restaurant. Casey has a couple of decent friends, but people who have her back seem in short supply. Casey attracts the attention of a widowed writing icon with two young sons who offers her an ego boost and some fleeting security but no zazzle, and a teacher and hopeful writer who is a bit of a flake. Casey is drawn to him in a way that doesn’t make sense but that she can’t help.
This book is well written-literary fiction at its best. I found myself quickly drawn to the characters and feeling the pulls and resistance to this cast right along with Casey. I think we all have turning points or times we choose between duty and desire, and Lily King gives us a mythic tale to experience that choice in the safety of fiction. I closed the cover thoroughly entertained, feeling thoughtful, and anxious to recommend Writers & Lovers to others!