"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 novel 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 at once delightfully gossipy and intellectually serious, an ode to literature and a warning against hero-worship."
"[The Last Book Party is a] charming debut novel with a Gatsbyesque feel. . . .With her pitch-perfect style, Dukess evokes the bygone gentility of the publishing world. . . .More than an entertaining novel of the era, The Last Book Party captures the dawning self-knowledge of an aspiring young writer who is held back by a mix of her insecurities, naivete, and expectations of the day who realizes that she has been intoxicated by illusions of brilliance but one day may be able to fulfill her own ambitions."
National Book Review
"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 hopeand 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 booksand if you’ve ever dressed up as your favorite literary characterthis 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 aloneyou’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."
A young woman with literary aspirations jumps at the chance to become a summer assistant for a prestigious author in Dukess' bittersweet coming-of-age debut novel.
It's June 1987, and Eve Rosen is star-struck as she walks up the driveway of the summer home of New Yorker writer Henry Grey, for the guests are "Truro's summer elite, the writers, editors, poets, and artists who left their apartments in Manhattan and Boston around Memorial Day and stayed on Cape Cod into September." An editorial secretary at Henry's New York publisher, Eve is thrilled to meet the man whose correspondence with her, however brief, is the highlight of her job. She is also dazzled by Henry's attractive son, Franny, and Henry's aloof wife, the poet Tillie Sanderson. With dreams of becoming a writer, yet lacking confidence, Eve longs to join this world, so very different from her Jewish parents' suburban, middle-class lifestyle. "I was buoyed by a sense of possibility. A tentative belief that I could have a creative life too." Returning to Manhattan, Eve meets her boss's new literary discovery, snobbish Jeremy Grand, who went to school with Franny. Jealous of Jeremy's connections with the Greys and his early success, Eve reads his unpublished novel and is stunned by the power of his voice. Her doubts about her own abilities grow, but when Eve is bypassed for a promotion, she quits her job and accepts Henry's offer to work as his research assistant for the summer. Her decision leads her to some hard (if somewhat predictable) truths that are exposed at the Greys' annual book costume party. Eve is an appealing protagonist, naïve and yet assertive in trying to find her own voice as an artist.
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.
DEBUT When Eve Rosen is invited to her first book party in the Cape Cod town of Truro in the 1980s, she's a lowly editorial assistant at a New York publishing company. Eve is thrilled to have finally gained entry to the intellectual conversations and sexual high jinks of the literati. Though she grew up spending summers at her family's vacation home in Truro, the publishing elite were a world apart from her own family's boring circle of lawyers and accountants. With snappy dialog, name-dropping, and an author's note suggesting insider experience, the story of Eve's self-doubt and willingness to do almost anything to become a writer in a male-dominated world has a #MeToo movement currency. VERDICT 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 seminostalgic debut is the ideal summer read for book people. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]—Laurie Cavanaugh, Thayer P.L., Braintree, MA