Writers & Lovers
I adored Lily King’s previous book, Euphoria, and I did like this one, just not as much.
Writers & Lovers is an easy read. Is it deep? No. It’s written beautifully, with intelligence and flow, but literary, as in leaving us with a ton to think about? No. Heck, the author says in a Q&A that she put the ampersand in the title because … she likes ampersands. Writers & Lovers left me feeling good, though. This book is about perseverance and diligence and hope.
The protagonist is Casey Peabody, a 30-year-old writer who has had small pieces published but can’t quite finish her novel. Impoverished, she lives in a potting shed, works double shifts at a restaurant, and has a history of failed love affairs. Suddenly, she finds herself dating two good men. Both are writers, but very different from one another.
Casey’s love life plays a major role in this book, which makes it more about lovers than about writers. Writing is incidental to the rest of the plot. Casey could be an actor, a musician, a marketing wannabe – and it would have little effect on the book’s overall arc.
That said, King’s descriptions about writing are spot-on, which is one of the reasons I gave this book 4 stars. The author knows the angst of writing, of tackling writer’s block, of waiting and praying and sweating while submitting a book to an agent. She definitely knows how to write a coherent sentence.
She also knows a lot – a lot – about working in a restaurant. Her descriptions of this are detailed. At first, I found them interesting, then clever. After a while, they became repetitive. Honestly? There was more in this book about being a server than about being a writer.
The setting is Cambridge, Massachusetts. Having lived there myself, I enjoyed the local references. Like the endless detail about restaurant serving, though, these grew tedious. Still, there’s enough else to like in this book to make it a worthwhile read.
And the happy ending? What can I say? I’m a sucker for those.