- Library Binding
- Publisher: Thorndike Press Large Print (8 January 2020)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1432867431
- ISBN-13: 978-1432867430
- Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.5 x 21.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 508 g
- Customer Reviews:
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The Last Book Party Library Binding – Large Print, 8 Jan 2020
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"Karen Dukess plants a bright flag on the dunes with her debut....Dukess delivers a spare, bittersweet page-turner that culminates in the Greys' much-anticipated end-of-summer party....Dukess's unmistakable love of words, stories and 'book people' is what keeps you bobbing briskly along with the waves."
--The New York Times Book Review, Beach Reads Roundup
"This coming-of-age novels offers up a healthy dose of late '80s nostalgia, and it's a breezy read for book enthusiasts."
"A book that will make you nostalgic about both 1980s NYC and book publishing."
--The New York Post
". . . .Ideal for a trip to the beach or a weekend getaway. . . .the lovingly created mood, particularly in Truro and its surroundings, makes it easy to keep turning the pages."
--AM New York
"[The Last Book Party] is sure to be my number one recommendation of the summer!. . . .This book is a bibliophile's heaven, and I'm sure there could be no better summer read!"
"Part coming of age, part gossipy peek into the enclave of writers, editors, poets, and artists who annually escaped the heat of Boston and New York to talk, drink, and work on Cape Cod, this semi-nostalgic debut is the ideal summer read for book people."
--Library Journal, starred review
"The Last Book Party is a delight. A story of a young woman trying to find herself while surrounded by the bohemian literary scene during a summer on the Cape in the late 80s, I found myself nodding along in so many moments and dreading the last page. Karen Dukess has rendered a wonderful world to spend time in."
--Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six
"The Last Book Party captures a world tantalizingly close to the surface of memory, in which things now lost to time mattered a great deal, and the Internet era was slouching toward us to be born. This Orphic book goes down to retrieve a beloved New York, and the pleasant ache at its heart is that it can't bring it back forever. Charming, lovely, and written with a light touch, this book captures the longing and unease of summer romance amid the complexity of post-graduate life. Shades of Goodbye, Columbus, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, and Bright Lights, Big City haunt its pages."
--Matthew Thomas, New York Times-bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves
"Laced with the light of its Cape Cod setting, The Last Book Party details a 1980s summer among the literary set that has far-flung consequences for all its characters. As much as the book focuses on love affairs between people, readers will leave inspired by the real love affair here: between Karen Dukess and the world of reading and writing that she illuminates."
--Stephanie Clifford, New York Times bestselling author of Everybody Rise
"Karen Dukess has written a modern yet timeless coming-of-age story about friendship, romance, and one young woman's complicated relationship with a wickedly charming family of literary superstars. Emotional and evocative, The Last Book Party left me aching for the hard lessons of youth, trembling with hope--and utterly transfixed until the final page."
--Ann Mah, bestselling author of The Lost Vintage
"This bittersweet summer romance had me turning pages right up to the end. If you love books about books--and if you've ever dressed up as your favorite literary character--this is a party you won't want to miss."
--Jason Rekulak, author of The Impossible Fortress
"The Last Book Party made me incredibly nostalgic for an iconic literary world of New York that is no more, one that smells of cigarettes, whiskey on the rocks, promiscuity, and miraculous bursts of luck. Karen Dukess' coming of age tale is a magnifying lens from the past that shows us a glimpse of who we are (and can be) today. A story from 1987 that is surprisingly in dialogue with a contemporary conversation about what it means to be a woman, a writer, and an artist struggling to find a place, The Last Book Party is a novel about a young woman in search for a voice written by a writer who has clearly found hers."
--Chiara Barzini author of Things That Happened Before The Earthquake
"The writing is as breezy as the air in this Cape-Cod-meets-Fifth-Avenue publishing world bildungsroman."
--Lucinda Rosenfeld, author of Class
"Read this book. Read it alone--you'll laugh out loud. And read it slowly, because you won't want it to end. Through heart-wrenching twists and hilarious turns, The Last Book Party tells the ultimately uplifting universal tale of the breakthrough that comes of a young woman's shattered illusions."
--Suzy Becker, bestselling author-illustrator of All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat and I Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse?
"Readers aching for the sun-dappled intrigue of André Aciman's Call Me By Your Name or the wit of Francine Prose's Blue Angel will find a kindred reading experience here...Mixing ambivalence, nostalgia and the power of innocence in an idyllic setting, this journey of self-discovery is an ideal summer read for those who might shun more typical 'beach-read' offerings."
"Written with fresh confidence and verve, this first novel is a bibliophile's delight, with plenty of title-dropping and humorous digs at the publishing scene of the 1980s. The lyrical evocations of the Cape Cod landscape will also enchant readers seeking that perfect summer read."
"Aspiring writer Eve Rosen finds herself unhappy in her job as an assistant. When she gets invited to attend a party thrown by a writer she admires, she jumps at the opportunity. Getting tangled up in this new world, she quickly learns that the literary world holds dark secrets she never saw coming."
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Top international reviews
Then the book moves into another world: successful writers and the people who love, emulate, worship and obsess about them. In THE LAST BOOK PARTY, this world is centered in the small town of Truro, on Cape Cod. Dukess situates the reader fully in this world. The descriptions of Truro's natural beauty are as rich as the portraits of the writers and their village of supporters. The narrator becomes involved with one particular writer, who has achieved a kind of fame that was once available to magazine writers. He's wonderful and narcissistic, careless and sensitive, well past his finest days. As the narrator gets more involved with him, Dukess gives us an uncanny portrait of love in your twenties--hopeful, carefree until you're not, in love until you're brutally woken from the reverie. The narrator's growth is natural and unsentimental. The conclusion seems so true to life.
One final note. To my mind, reviews that call the prose "breezy" do the novel a disservice. The prose is smart and gentle and accurate and doesn't get in the way. This is first-rate prose doing its job. I love it, just as I loved every minute of reading THE LAST BOOK PARTY (which I devoured in a single evening). Read it--it's a pure delight.
Before long, Eve is literally swept off her feet by Franny, son of Henry; Franny then disappears for most of the book, only to return at The Climax. The days go by, Henry and Eve work well together. Every so often wife Tilly, a poet of some fame, sticks her nose in for an acerbic comment or two. Things happen. Then, maybe halfway through the book, there is the first mention of The Party, an end of summer affair where all the guests dress up as a character in a novel. As you may have guessed, right in the middle of The Party, we have The Climax. I have never watched The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, nor The Brotherhood or whatever its called, but based on inescapable TV ads I imagine season-ending scenes of big reveals, tears, finger-pointing, quick cuts to several characters, yelling, lots of yelling, everybody leveling charges (mostly accurate, at each other)…..The dust and the hangovers clear. Eve moves, gets a new job, comes back a year later…..
To proclaim BP a beach book I believe is to demean it a bit; this is much better than what I toss in my sunblock bag. It’s very well plotted, with interesting characters, excellent prose, and some good insights into the book business. It raises some interesting moral dilemmas and is entertaining as well. My only criticism is that I think the author went a bit too far with all the literature character references. I understood that BP’s characters were supposed to get it, but the author seemed to expect a worthwhile reader would also.
Recommended? Yes. Would I read the next Dukess? Maybe not.
Eve is far from unworldly. She considers herself sophisticated. After all, she attends New York literary parties and can banter with famous writers. At a party in Cape Cod, Eve meets Henry, a renowned journalist, his wife, Tillie, an equally famous poet, and their son, Franny. She is intrigued and charmed by the family, especially Franny, an engaging but thoughtless young ladies’ man.
Henry is working on his memoirs and offers Eve a job as his personal assistant. After being passed over for a promotion at the publishing house and disillusioned with the corporate grind, Eve accepts Henry’s offer. It will mean staying with her parents and biking to Henry’s Cape Cod mansion daily. The arrangement promises a break for Eve. She finds out quickly that Henry and Tillie have a strange relationship. She also learns through his friend Jeremy that Franny has a long-term girlfriend. Eve begins an affair with Henry that will lead to her discovering important truths and have a lasting impact on other’s lives.
Dukess captures the 1980’s spirit of excess in her novel. I had many moments while reading this book of wanting to shake Eve and say this is not going to end well, just stop it! Never, though, did I quit reading. It was like watching a bad accident in slow-motion, but I couldn’t turn away. Despite all the wrong decisions Eve makes, she ultimately redeems herself in the end. Dukess is a good writer and pulls you into Eve’s story. This book will please those who like juicy stories about how the famous live, and those who love Cape Cod.
These characters were a mess, but that was ok. The author allowed you to see enough into their lives to understand why they were a mess, and why Eve behaved the way she did. She grew up in a good home, and the focus was on her brother, who was brilliant. Therefore everyone’s energy went toward him, leaving her on her own, but she still felt the pressure to be as good as him in whatever she did. She wanted to be a writer, but this pressure prevented her from doing the thing she wanted most in life. And as a result, she made some pretty crappy decisions, let’s be honest. But she met some great people along the way.
What I respected most about Eve was that her solid upbringing allowed her have a clear head to see the big picture of where her decisions were taking her. She really wanted to believe she was making good choices, and she ignored this line of sight in the beginning for sure, but she was young. However, once she finally saw what others had been seeing, and warning her about, she was able to make a decision for herself and didn’t give a second thought to how it would affect others.
Further into the story, Eve does come to realize that her angst is somewhat self-inflicted, and that her romanticized admiration for her mentor/lover and the other “artists” is not getting her anywhere -- so there is that. And kudos to the author for this one scene: her glowing description of a book launch at the iconic Scribner Building – a structure which I recently passed by in NYC, noting that its once-beautiful ground floor bookstore is now a Lululemon. THIS chapter, at least, made me long for a return to the glory days of the book world.