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Sweetbitter
Cover of Sweetbitter
Sweetbitter
Now a major TV series
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'A fantastic read – think Girls meets Kitchen Confidential' Stylist
'An adrenalised love song' Mail on Sunday
'A stunning debut novel' Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City

*AN OBSERVER BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016 | A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | A USA TODAY BESTSELLER | AN INDIE BESTSELLER*

Tess is the 22-year-old narrator of this stunning first novel. Moving to New York, a place at the centre of the universe, from a place that feels like 'nowhere to live', she lands a job at a renowned Union Square restaurant and begins to navigate the chaotic and punishing life of a waiter, on and off duty. As her appetites awaken – not just for food and wine but also for knowledge and friendship – Tess becomes helplessly drawn into a dark, alluring love triangle.

Sweetbitter is a novel of the senses. Of taste and hunger, of love and desire, and the wisdom that comes from our experiences, both sweet and bitter.
'A fantastic read – think Girls meets Kitchen Confidential' Stylist
'An adrenalised love song' Mail on Sunday
'A stunning debut novel' Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City

*AN OBSERVER BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016 | A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | A USA TODAY BESTSELLER | AN INDIE BESTSELLER*

Tess is the 22-year-old narrator of this stunning first novel. Moving to New York, a place at the centre of the universe, from a place that feels like 'nowhere to live', she lands a job at a renowned Union Square restaurant and begins to navigate the chaotic and punishing life of a waiter, on and off duty. As her appetites awaken – not just for food and wine but also for knowledge and friendship – Tess becomes helplessly drawn into a dark, alluring love triangle.

Sweetbitter is a novel of the senses. Of taste and hunger, of love and desire, and the wisdom that comes from our experiences, both sweet and bitter.
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About the Author-
  • Stephanie Danler attended Kenyon College and received her MFA in Fiction from The New School. Upon arriving in New York she reluctantly turned down an entry level job at a publishing house (upon learning the salary was incommensurate with paying rent) and found work as a back-waiter in Union Square Cafe. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 7, 2015
    This debut is a quintessential coming-of-age story set in a remorseless, unusual city. Time and place are superbly established: the setting is the behind-the-scenes milieu of a celebrated restaurant in 2006 Manhattan. Propelled by “unbridled, unfocused desire” but still essentially naive, 22-year-old Tess has fled an empty life in the Midwest and landed a coveted job as a server in a restaurant that strongly resembles the famous Union Square Café. At first crushingly lonely and exhausted by the arduous routine, Tess is mentored by longtime senior server Simone. Despite warnings to avoid falling for bartender Jake, and willfully blind to the strange relationship between Jake and Simone, Tess begins a passionate affair with him. Meanwhile, she becomes an accepted member of a select society of overworked, terminally tense and bone-tired wait staff. Danler writes about food with sensory gusto as Tess learns how to distinguish the fine points of every wine, how to identify an heirloom tomato or oyster, how to shave a truffle. Tess also learns how to get seriously drunk and snort lines of coke. Early on, she defines the foods and condiments that are sweet and those that are bitter—and her relationships with Simone and Jake are ultimately just that: a sweet time of consummate happiness followed by bitter betrayal. Throughout, Danler evokes Tess’s voice—intimate, confiding, wonderstruck, depressed—with deft skill. This novel is a treat, sure to find a big following.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 25, 2016
    With her breathless, raspy voice, reader McKenna embodies the sheer physical sensuality of Danler’s foodie novel; with her youthful sound and tendency to inflect the ends of sentences as though they were questions, she catches the generational zeitgeist of the novel’s protagonist, Tess, who’s fresh out of college and trying to make it as a server in one of New York’s trendiest restaurants. McKenna’s performance ably captures the chaos of the kitchen, ruled by a terrifying chef who bellows “Pick up!” and proclaims the church-like sanctity of his domain. McKenna succeeds at breathing life into book’s main character, who captivates with humor and sensitivity. It all falls flat, however, in her voicing of the other characters, who sound mostly the same except for those who McKenna voices with poorly executed foreign or regional accents, such as the on-again, off-again Slavic cadence of Sasha, a Russian employee of the restaurant. These missteps make the listening experience uneven enough to be distracting. A Knopf hardcover.

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    Oneworld Publications
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