The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry meets Sweetbitter

by Karen Dukess
Henry Holt, Summer 2020
Editor: Libby Burton
Agent: Doug Stewart (Sterling Lord Literistic)

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen, languishing in a low-level publishing job after growing up in the shadow of her brilliant brother, jumps at the chance to attend an exclusive party at the Cape Cod home of the New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie Sanderson. Dazzled by the party and the hosts’ artist son, Franny, Eve is determined to find her way back into this literary milieu where she feels recognized as the writer she aspires to be. Her naive quest leads to a summer job as Henry’s research assistant out on the cape in the town of Truro. It also leads to a contentious relationship with Franny’s secretive childhood friend, the up-and-coming novelist Jeremy Ex, and an illicit love affair. By summer’s end, Eve feels older and wiser. But at Henry and Tillie’s annual Labor Day costume party, the exclusive and famed « Book Party » where attendees dress as literary characters, Eve discovers that nothing is as it seems, and that she may have single-handedly destroyed years of tradition with a few seemingly casual decisions made in the middle of an otherwise magical summer.

With a background in newspaper and magazine journalism, Karen Dukess has spent the last eight years as a speechwriter on gender equality at the United Nations.

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