SweetbitterBook - 2016
"Brilliantly written... Sweetbitter is the Kitchen Confidential of our time."
--Gabrielle Hamilton, author of Blood, Bones & Butter , New York Times Book Review
A lush, raw, thrilling novel of the senses about a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, seductive world of a famous New York City restaurant.
"Let's say I was born when I came over the George Washington Bridge... " This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the twenty-two-year-old at the heart of this stunning debut. Shot from a mundane, provincial past, Tess comes to New York in the stifling summer of 2006. Alone, knowing no one, living in a rented room in Williamsburg, she manages to land a job as a "backwaiter" at a celebrated downtown Manhattan restaurant. This begins the year we spend with Tess as she starts to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing, and privileged life she has chosen, as well as the remorseless and luminous city around her. What follows is her education: in oysters, Champagne, the appellations of Burgundy, friendship, cocaine, lust, love, and dive bars. As her appetites awaken--for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging--we see her helplessly drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle. With an orphan's ardor she latches onto Simone, a senior server at the restaurant who has lived in ways Tess only dreams of, and against the warnings of coworkers she falls under the spell of Jake, the elusive, tatted up, achingly beautiful bartender. These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess's most exhilarating and painful lesson of all.
Stephanie Danler intimately defines the crucial transition from girl to woman, from living in a place that feels like nowhere to living in a place that feels like the center of the universe. She deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant--conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, relationships only partially revealed. And she evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, the fragility and brutality of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy. A lush novel of the senses--of taste and hunger, seeing and understanding, love and desire-- Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the transformation and wisdom that come from our experiences, sweet and bitter.
From Library Staff
wendybird Dec 19, 2016
Like legions before her, 22 year old Tess decides to leave her small town life and try and find her own version of the "go to New York City and live the dream" story. Her first steps are lucky and true - she lands a decent first job as a "backwaiter" at a famous Manhattan res... Read More »
SPL_Stephanie Oct 20, 2016
Tess, a confused 22 year old moves to the busy streets of Williamsburg in an attempt to rediscover and to redefine herself. After finding a job with the hottest restaurant in NYC, she struggles with the restaurant culture and quickly becomes immersed in the sex, drugs and drama that begins each e... Read More »