Sweetbitter: A Novel
Tess is a twenty-two-year-old Midwesterner making an unsurprising life change: ditching her quiet life to move to New York City. Like so many broke young adults before her, she finds a shared apartment in Williamsburg and gets a job waiting tables in Union Square. She’s pretty, innocent, unsophisticated, and falls for the tattooed bartender. She comes of age and finds her place in the big city in a flurry of alcohol, coke, and sex.
Readers can be forgiven if this novel seems, at first glance, like just another coming-of-age-in-NYC cliche. It’s the details–and Danler’s gorgeous prose–that elevates the story into something remarkable. Tess’s job is in a cutting-edge restaurant where the servers swoon over chanterelles and rare vintages, and the education she receives in wine and food is as important to her evolution as love and sex. The characters are edgy and flawed; the mistakes Tess makes are messy and real. Happy endings are open to interpretation. Many, many novels have been written about falling in love with New York, but Danler makes this old story page-turningly new.
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