Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Book Review: The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

One could argue that the 1980s was the last heyday of book publishing. But Eve would not have agreed with you. As an assistant at a prestigious literary house, she shuffles papers and keeps her boss's correspondence in line. Her family has a beach house on Cape Cod, near one of the authors her boss publishes, a past-his-prime nonfiction New Yorker writer. Eve goes to a party at his house, meets his hunky son, and has a fling with him. The writer, Henry, offers her a job as his researcher, and when she is passed over for a promotion at work, she takes him up on it. She is hoping to run into the son again and that their dalliance will lead to something more, but she finds out about his girlfriend, alas. And then she starts to sleep with Henry. Hiding their affair from his wife, a famous poet.

At the end of the summer, the writer and the poet host a famous "book party" where everyone comes dressed as a literary character, and you can "win" the party by being the first to correctly identify everyone. So while your character shouldn't be so obscure that no one can guess them, there is a striving for going off the beaten path and picking a costume that isn't too obvious.

Needless to say, at the party, everything comes to a head. Secrets will out and out some more, and there's a fracas and it's all a voyeuristic delight for the literary set. The perfect smart beach read.

This book is published by Henry Holt, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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