Writers & Lovers
Kirkus Prize-winning author of EUPHORIA Lily King's WRITERS & LOVERS, a novel of love, art, and ambition that captures a transitional moment in a young woman's struggle to succeed—creatively, financially, sexually, existentially, to Elisabeth Schmitz at Grove/Atlantic, in an exclusive submission, for publication in winter 2020.

Writers & Lovers Details

TitleWriters & Lovers
Author
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
Rating
GenreFiction, Literary Fiction, Adult Fiction

Writers & Lovers Review

  • Elyse (semi hiatus) Walters
    January 1, 1970
    Boston University Bridge, connecting Boston to Cambridge, referred to as the BU Bridge, is mentioned many times throughout “Writers & Lovers”. Casey Kasem, rides her banana seat bike over the BU bridge to and from work. Each time Casey crosses the bridge — it feels like a monumental moment —symbolic—a life in transition….a new start….hope for connection and stability. As she pedaled across the BU Bridge, often at dusk, I got the feeling it was where Casey measured her healing, her strength… Boston University Bridge, connecting Boston to Cambridge, referred to as the BU Bridge, is mentioned many times throughout “Writers & Lovers”. Casey Kasem, rides her banana seat bike over the BU bridge to and from work. Each time Casey crosses the bridge — it feels like a monumental moment —symbolic—a life in transition….a new start….hope for connection and stability. As she pedaled across the BU Bridge, often at dusk, I got the feeling it was where Casey measured her healing, her strength…taking personal inventory of thyself. I’m not sure if this book is for everyone — (I already saw a couple of low reviews —which I read carefully & respected), — but for me — this book was heaven!!! I enjoyed it every bit as much as I did “Euphoria”) ….Casey is a 31 year old woman…. …..She is struggling to become a writer. …..She was once a golf prodigy at Duke College —at age 14 — …..She is struggling to gain financial independence. She has debts. …..She has medical problems …..She wants romantic and sexual fulfillment. Years ago, I once lived in a tiny furnace room with no windows & unfinished walls — for $35 a month —in a large house in the Oakland Hills, while attending school at UC Berkeley. It was easy to imagine the “Potting Shed” that Casey Kasem lived in. (there was room for a twin mattress, a desk, chair, hot plate, and toaster oven in the bathroom). Casey’s landlord, Adam, (attorney and friends with her brother, Caleb), took an extra $50 off her rent (besides already giving her a deal), in exchange for walking his dog, *Oafie*, each morning. Conversations between Casey and Adam were limited —Adam was not the ‘guy’ or ‘guys’ Casey got romantically involved with….(Luke, Silas, and Oscar are the lucky ones) ….But I had a great laugh over a morning exchange between Adam (dressed for work in his spiffy suit) — and Casey (dressed in sloppy sweats about to walk his dog) …Adam asks Casey: “How many pages have you written?” “Couple hundred, maybe, Casey says” “I find it extraordinary that you think you have something to say”. (Ouch!!) Casey had been accepted to attend a writers group for eight weeks, “Red Barn”. But, then her mother died....wishing she could postpone the dates —but it was ‘take it’ now —or forget the opportunity. She took it…….and brought her grief from Bend, Oregon, to Cambridge - making it very difficult to focus on writing. Luke was from New York…in the workshop with Casey. He told her he lost a child —and that he and his wife were divorced. (Not divorced) — but for a short time —they had a ‘thing’ together. Casey even thought her dead mother brought Luke to her -to help with her grieving. Later we meet Silas —and Oscar — (and their back stories) Torn between two lovers —Casey will eventually choose. There was a hilarious conversation about ‘choosing’. Ha, not wanting to share any profanity-words-to-describe the dialogue between friends and Casey —(as to which guy to pick) — I’ll just add — the many ‘friends’ of Casey’s in this novel were wonderful! I loved the atmosphere Lily King painted. One night, Casey was watching other writers in the workshop enjoy the night air. They were rocking in chairs on a porch. “The Sky was violet, the trees dark blue. The frogs had started up in the pond across the road, louder and louder the closer you listened”. I found myself listening to Casey’s inner thoughts….’louder & louder’ in the same way Casey listened to those frogs. I was torn between wanting to plow forward quickly - to slowing down my reading - to savior Lily King’s lovely sentences. I chose to slow down. I loved many ’tidbits’ in King’s storytelling……Wandering through the Museum of Fine Art...Casey is on a date with Silas. She remembers her mother use to bring her when she was little. Casey & Silas drift over to ‘Art of Americans’, and stop at a painting - ‘Sargent’s: The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit’. (Considered the most psychologically compelling painting of John Singer Sargent’s career)...I also love that painting. It’s a painting of the four little girls... wearing white pinafores. The conversation/interpretation about the painting between Casey and Silas was fascinating - I just liked it!! I also loved what Casey said when she viewed the painting: “If I could write something as good as right there, right where that belt cinches her pinafore. It’s hard to pull my eyes from it. I don’t know why it’s so moving to me, and I could never explain. There’s a madness to beauty when you stumble on it like that”. I LOVE THOSE TYPE of MOMENTS IN LIFE!!! I live for them, too!!!! I’m a reader — (never -ever- claimed to be a writer —in fact —I hate writing —always sure I can’t get any of the words right) …. Thank heavens for a little freedom on Goodreads. (We don’t have to all be writers) —some of us just want to share -and connect with others who might be interested in the same books we are. But this is true: I thought…This book…Was…***BEAUTIFUL - THOUGHT PROVOKING - INTROSPECTIVE & REFLECTIVE!!*** I LIKED IT A LOT!!!!!!!I loved my private quiet time with the characters -the college town - the restaurant - (the people, descriptions of foods, wines, plants, customers), the lovely insightful writing - I didn’t even want to write this review —because I liked this book soooo much —I loved little things that I’m not sure anyone else would care. I really grew from this book —and its embarrassing to share that!!!! (Makes a girl feel pretty small) At the museum Casey and Silas were standing in front of Van Hogg’s oil painting....’Houses at Auvers’....then Henri Matisse’s ‘Vase of Flowers’ ...I was in enjoying their museum stroll. I looked up the paintings on google simply to enjoy them....Those paintings alone slowed down my reading. I was totally enjoying savoring Lily’s new book! And I was feeling sad —wanting to really visit the New York Museum of Art. I haven’t been. I haven’t been to Boston — I haven’t been to Cambridge — I actually had tears feeling the loss of a place I’ve never been -but have wanted to go. In the meantime, I’m writing a crappy review — (I’m sure I need an editor), —ha….of a book I *totally loved*!There was a scene a little too close to home. I had five surgeries for skin cancer two years ago -which many people know (I lost 1/2 of a nose) — Reading about Casey’s squamous carcinoma —brought back too many memories I’d rather forget. Living with the scars is a daily reminder in itself. Casey didn’t tell her dermatologist that she used to lie in the sun with baby oil. Ha, not sure I told my doctors, either….(but I figured they knew). Casey also got a call from her gynecologist who explained she had severe dysplasia on her cervix and needed to come in for a scraping.  So this young woman — was dealing with the loss of her mother — (remembering the phone calls - memories - and the loved they sincerely shared together ) — She was faced with too many bills —Felt rejection — and less than —She was invited to ridiculously expensive weddings —(only to make a woman feel worse) She longed for love/ passion and a creative-meaningful life — (so easy to understand!!) She had medical issues to seriously deal with — (ha —know that one too) And….she was trying to finish her novel — (ok, not me —I’m just trying to finish this review) YEP….I loved this novel!!!!*** On Writing…. Casey says:“I try to write something new. It’s bad and I stop after a few sentences. Even though I didn’t feel it at the time, I got into a rhythm with the old novel. I knew those characters and how to write them. I heard their voices and I saw their gestures and everything else feels fake and stiff. I ache for them, people I also once felt we’re stiff and fake, but who now seem like the only people I could ever write about”. Thank you Netgalley, Grove Atlantic (always grateful) — and Lily King. (If you plan to come speak in the Bay Area about this book —I’ll attend)
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  • Theresa Alan
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. I found this to be an uneven novel. Lily King won a bunch of awards for her book Euphoria, which I downloaded a long time ago but never read. Now I’m not sure that I want to read it. Other people have rated the writing of this novel as wonderful, but I’m not impressed except with how she described one of the men wooing her—he’s a successful writer/widower/father of two who, like so many people, can only see what he doesn’t have and what he hasn’t achieved as he compares himself to 3.5 stars. I found this to be an uneven novel. Lily King won a bunch of awards for her book Euphoria, which I downloaded a long time ago but never read. Now I’m not sure that I want to read it. Other people have rated the writing of this novel as wonderful, but I’m not impressed except with how she described one of the men wooing her—he’s a successful writer/widower/father of two who, like so many people, can only see what he doesn’t have and what he hasn’t achieved as he compares himself to other writers. The first 40 to 45 percent of Writers and Lovers is a snoozefest. Casey has been working on a novel for six years and is in massive student loan debt because she spent her twenties traveling and not working. She spent her eight weeks of a retreat mooning over a guy and not writing. Now she’s waiting tables to pay her minimum of her bills. Her mother died a while back, and she’s still processing that. Her father is a nightmare. While Casey gets along with her brother, he lives across the country. Even with these hardships, I didn’t love the character, although I did empathize with her anxiety and sleeplessness. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book, which RELEASES MARCH 3, 2020.For more reviews, please visit http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    Lily King is an intrepid writer who has taken me to amazing places—to the jungle of New Guinea to explore South Pacific tribes in Euphoria and to an upscale New England suburb to explore the emotional complexities of a toxic father/daughter relationship in Father of the Rain.In Writers & Lovers, she sets her sights lower, focusing on a young unpublished writer named Casey who is at a pivotal moment in time: her mother has recently died, her student debts are weighing her down, her writing is Lily King is an intrepid writer who has taken me to amazing places—to the jungle of New Guinea to explore South Pacific tribes in Euphoria and to an upscale New England suburb to explore the emotional complexities of a toxic father/daughter relationship in Father of the Rain.In Writers & Lovers, she sets her sights lower, focusing on a young unpublished writer named Casey who is at a pivotal moment in time: her mother has recently died, her student debts are weighing her down, her writing is stalled, a medical problem has cropped up, and her love life is – in a word – confusing. It is, in effect, a coming-of-age story, but the person coming-of-age is not a teenager but a woman of 31 who is biding her time waitressing while she figures things out.I believe the author, through one particular moment with her character, signals what she wishes to achieve: “Why would you pull kids out of the story? You want to push them further in, so they can feel everything the author tried so hard to achieve for them.” Indeed, Lily King has the literary chops to do that—making the reader feel for her character.Two subplots vie for attention. The first: who will Casey choose (or will she choose?) as a love interest: an established, handsome, older novelist who is a widower with two adorable young sons or a younger striver who, like Casey, is just trying to figure things out? And, is Casey herself a contender with a debut novel that she’s been nurturing along?As a reader who loves ambiguity, both answers were evident to me early on. Most of Casey’s writing tribulations are seen “off stage” and her abundant talent was relayed to me, but not “felt” by me. The triangle romantic plot and Casey’s choice were predictable.Don’t get me wrong: this is a book that goes down easy, and had me turning pages. For many readers, the plot will absolutely resonate. But for fans of Lily King, who anticipate something in the realm of Euphoria or Father of the Rain, it’s not quite up to par. My sincere thanks to Grove Atlantic for an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Anna Luce
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 20% “When he kissed me he smelled like Europe” ...the guy happens to be Spanish so yes, of course he smells like Europe. Us Europeans have a very distinctive smell...I just wander what this type of pointless description is trying to achieve.Unsurprisingly, I've come to conclusion that this book is not for me.Not only did I dislike the writing style but I found the story to be both trivial and banal. The narrative tries, and fails, to come across as a subversive story that follows the DNF at 20% “When he kissed me he smelled like Europe” ...the guy happens to be Spanish so yes, of course he smells like Europe. Us Europeans have a very distinctive smell...I just wander what this type of pointless description is trying to achieve.Unsurprisingly, I've come to conclusion that this book is not for me.Not only did I dislike the writing style but I found the story to be both trivial and banal. The narrative tries, and fails, to come across as a subversive story that follows the mundane trials experienced by an unpublished female writer (yes, we will be reminded in a few not so subtle ways that we are indeed reading of a writer who is a woman, not a man) whose personality is the usual blend of pathetic and alienated. She is treated badly by everyone around her, and we should feel something for her because she can't seem to get any writing done and she's also been dumped by her sort of lover....She makes a series of self-pitying and puerile contemplations regarding her own writing, writing itself, and her ambitions and desires. Yet, these observations lacked a distinctive voice, seeming to originate from no person in particular.There were certain scenes that lacked clarity and cohesiveness, I wasn't sure when they started or ended as the narrator was too busy playing her own violin to make any sort of sense. I'm fine with narratives that rely on introspection but here our narrator's mental meanderings seemed merely superfluous additions that added little to no value to her character or her history.Plus there were phrases such as the following that I really disliked: —“that book made my nethersphere sore” (whatever that might mean)—“They're the eyes of someone very tired and very sad, and once I see them I feel even sadder and then I see that sadness, that compassion, for the sadness in my eyes, and I see the water rising in them”–My body aches from my throat to my groin.I want him to slide his fingers into my bathing suit and make all the heaviness and misery go away ” (the one that made me quit this book for once and for all).Reading all of this made me laugh, and I'm not sure that was the intended effect behind their inclusion. I just found this to be a sloppy and predictable tale of an alienated woman who is unsure of her place in the world. This is one of the many recent releases that attempt to provide us with a self-aware look into the life of a writer...and similarly to Bunny it tries to make fun of writing in general.If you are looking for a thought-provoking novel featuring the ups and downs of a creative mind, in this case a photographer, I would recommend Self-Portrait with Boy. If you want to read of a book narrated by a restlessly detached protagonist maybe you should pick up something by Ottessa Moshfegh.
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  • Heather Fineisen
    January 1, 1970
    I love Lily King. In this novel, Casey is a server at a high end restaurant which is so spot on I dreamed about my own experience waiting tables in college. Cast is also an aspiring writer with an interesting and heartfelt synopsis centered around a character based on her recently deceased mother. She is looking for love and we get to experience the early doubt and witty dialogue of new relationships. Her take on other writers, her art, her debt, are just a few of what makes this character grow. I love Lily King. In this novel, Casey is a server at a high end restaurant which is so spot on I dreamed about my own experience waiting tables in college. Cast is also an aspiring writer with an interesting and heartfelt synopsis centered around a character based on her recently deceased mother. She is looking for love and we get to experience the early doubt and witty dialogue of new relationships. Her take on other writers, her art, her debt, are just a few of what makes this character grow. I will be reading this one again!Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
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  • Mary Lins
    January 1, 1970
    I was excited to receive Lily King's new novel, "Writers & Lovers" (coming March 2020) from the publisher, and only intended to "peek" at the first few pages, but immediately found myself as if on the back of a bike going fast - not in control and thoroughly engaged! I sped through this novel on my day off, and then didn’t want it to end. (It’s been the same with all her wonderful novels.)When we first encounter Casey, the driver of this novel, it is 1997, her mother has recently and I was excited to receive Lily King's new novel, "Writers & Lovers" (coming March 2020) from the publisher, and only intended to "peek" at the first few pages, but immediately found myself as if on the back of a bike going fast - not in control and thoroughly engaged! I sped through this novel on my day off, and then didn’t want it to end. (It’s been the same with all her wonderful novels.)When we first encounter Casey, the driver of this novel, it is 1997, her mother has recently and unexpectedly died, she’s been dumped by her boyfriend, she’s up to her eyeballs in student loan debt, trying to write her first novel while waiting tables at a Harvard Social Club restaurant (think “fancy”). Oh, and she may have some serious health issues. All of this is presented with immense wit, insight, an appropriate measure of pathos, and a dash of anger. This is a novel for everyone, but particularly for English Majors (I are one); King really “gets it” without too much “inside baseball” to put off any other readers. I laughed out loud at the “Milton scholar” who said that “first-person female narratives grated on him.” The novel is full of witty poking like that. I suspect (but never assume) that “Writers & Lovers” it is at least partially autobiographical, for who knows better how hard it is to write a novel than a novelist? Casey is clearly dealing with grief, and King skillfully and beautifully brings us inside Casey’s head and heart; we feel what she’s feeling. King is so deft at this, that I’d swear my heart-rate would go up when reading about Casey’s panic attacks. And when reading about the frenzied chaos of being a busy waitress, I would feel kindred anxiety for Casey as she tried to cope.Two very different men enter Casey’s life and the effect they have is to both complicate it and focus it. From the first page King had me fully invested in Casey’s story, sad for her loses, happy for her successes, disappointed in her choices sometimes, but always rooting for her.
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  • switterbug (Betsey)
    January 1, 1970
    I’m attracted to novels about writers, and I enjoy the mysterious lure in fiction toward the possibility that some of the book may have autobiographical threads. In WRITERS AND LOVERS, Lily King’s fifth novel, the story centers on Casey, a 31 year-old single woman and waitress living in Boston trying to finish her first novel, a six-year project so far. It’s 1997, and Casey is drowning in debt from school loans. Her mother has recently died, and she tries to hide her exhausting grief. I’m attracted to novels about writers, and I enjoy the mysterious lure in fiction toward the possibility that some of the book may have autobiographical threads. In WRITERS AND LOVERS, Lily King’s fifth novel, the story centers on Casey, a 31 year-old single woman and waitress living in Boston trying to finish her first novel, a six-year project so far. It’s 1997, and Casey is drowning in debt from school loans. Her mother has recently died, and she tries to hide her exhausting grief. Romantically, she’s a disaster of failed relationships. She lives in a damp shed-turned-efficiency attached to her landlord’s tony house. An early emotional trauma concerning her father keeps rearing up and weighing her down. Casey’s mask of irreverence is slipping and her life is unraveling.Despite Casey’s ongoing grief, King’s story has an even balance of droll wit. Scenes at the trendy restaurant, Iris, where Casey works, contain some high octane humor and energy, as the reader sees the backstage drama and antics of the restaurant staff, while the seated guests frequently remain as set pieces, although occasionally come into searing focus. King’s prose is clean, nuanced, and linguistically knowing. In 1997, we still pitted one gender against another in casual conversation (these days, we try to equalize more fluently), and King captures that era flawlessly, not just by saying it is 1997, but by evoking it. The author uses language lightly, but with poignancy.There are many passages about grief, especially, that stirred me. Here is one, demonstrating Casey’s loss with relation to the novel she has been writing for these past six years: “I’ve lost access to a world where my mother is a little girl reading in a window or twirling in fast circles on the street, her braids raised high off her back. Outside of that novel she is dead. There seems to be no end to the procession of things that make my mother feel more dead.”My primary complaint is the cinematic ending, which I don’t think was necessary or better than other choices that King could have made. For me, a little ambiguity goes a long way, vs. a Hollywood ending. Is this how King’s life moved forward? Probably not so much. Did the editors or publishers push for this? It’s a rhetorical question, of course. It could have even cheapened the novel, but fortunately for King, her head is mostly above the fray, and I still found the book an enjoyable feast of food, words, and lovers.Thank you to the publishers of Grove/Atlantic for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Shannon A
    January 1, 1970
    Following the sudden death of her mother, Casey finds herself in Massachusetts. She dedicates her mornings to working on her novel that has been in the works for six years. The restaurant shifts allow her to remain distracted enough that she doesn't have to focus on the loss of her mother and inspires her writing. One day, a well-known author is seated in her section and Casey quickly finds herself in love with two different authors, and on the edge of a big break that she may not be able to Following the sudden death of her mother, Casey finds herself in Massachusetts. She dedicates her mornings to working on her novel that has been in the works for six years. The restaurant shifts allow her to remain distracted enough that she doesn't have to focus on the loss of her mother and inspires her writing. One day, a well-known author is seated in her section and Casey quickly finds herself in love with two different authors, and on the edge of a big break that she may not be able to handle.This fast-paced novel is full of heart and humor, I couldn't put it down.
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  • Lynne
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this story. From the very beginning I was intrigued while she was walking the dog and intimating the owner. The title is so superficial while there is sooo much introspection in the story. Dealing with grief is never easy but this story definitely spoke to me. The writing was spot on. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    Far from the masterpiece of King's previous novel, Euphoria. Unfortunately, the protagonist's journey is deeply internal. The stops she traverses on her path are important for her but not totally captivating for the reader. Ultimately, it's a sweet story of artistic triumph that reads like a piece of autofiction. "Sweet" story is hardly complimentary, however, when I remember the depths plunged by King in Euphoria. I can see how this novel might be meaningful to its author, but I don't see it Far from the masterpiece of King's previous novel, Euphoria. Unfortunately, the protagonist's journey is deeply internal. The stops she traverses on her path are important for her but not totally captivating for the reader. Ultimately, it's a sweet story of artistic triumph that reads like a piece of autofiction. "Sweet" story is hardly complimentary, however, when I remember the depths plunged by King in Euphoria. I can see how this novel might be meaningful to its author, but I don't see it speaking effectively to a larger audience.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 {not quite up to par with Euphoria and Father of the Rain, which were both 4* for me] This is a tough one as I found the book quite uneven--read or not? Very slow to get into, but then momentum picked up--about halfway through. And, for me, a disappointing ending.Casey has a debt-ridden life as waitress at a high-end restaurant while trying to make it as a struggling writer. She is challenged by relationships--especially with her mother--whose sudden death leaves a huge void and unanswered 3.5 {not quite up to par with Euphoria and Father of the Rain, which were both 4* for me] This is a tough one as I found the book quite uneven--read or not? Very slow to get into, but then momentum picked up--about halfway through. And, for me, a disappointing ending.Casey has a debt-ridden life as waitress at a high-end restaurant while trying to make it as a struggling writer. She is challenged by relationships--especially with her mother--whose sudden death leaves a huge void and unanswered questions. And, on the romance front--she's conflicted/torn between Silas and Oscar. I never connected with Çasey--I neither liked nor disliked her. And so many characters in the restaurant--all fairly well drawn, but sometimes confusing. I quite liked Muriel--who I saw as a foil.How autobiographical is this? Certainly the parts about a struggling writer. This must have rung true-- "...a good story is both an allegory and a slice of life. Most writers are good at one, not the other." Question: was King ever a waitress? These parts [and there is a lot taking place at the restaurant, Iris, seemed very authentic. [I was a waitress, very briefly--for a summer--long ago, but NOT at a high end restaurant] Some of the language was fabulous. A description I never thought of: ...arguing about Ronald Reagan's legacy... he was a Howdy Doody manquė..."and humor "Behind the counter a stout woman is working around her breasts, which rest on the counter, in the way of everything she does.""...three oak trees on the far side of the park. Their limbs are enormous, ribbed with muscles and veins..."I loved the storyline of Casey's time with Oscar's children; it felt very real. This might have been my favorite part of the book.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.3.5 [not quite up to par with Euphoria and Father of the Rain, which were both 4* for me] This is a tough one as I found the book quite uneven--read or not? Very slow to get into, but then momentum picked up--about halfway through. And, for me, a disappointing ending.Casey has a debt-ridden life as waitress at a high-end restaurant while trying to make it as a struggling writer. She is challenged by relationships--especially I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.3.5 [not quite up to par with Euphoria and Father of the Rain, which were both 4* for me] This is a tough one as I found the book quite uneven--read or not? Very slow to get into, but then momentum picked up--about halfway through. And, for me, a disappointing ending.Casey has a debt-ridden life as waitress at a high-end restaurant while trying to make it as a struggling writer. She is challenged by relationships--especially with her mother--whose sudden death leaves a huge void and unanswered questions. And, on the romance front--she's conflicted/torn between Silas and Oscar. I never connected with Çasey--I neither liked nor disliked her. And so many characters in the restaurant--all fairly well drawn, but sometimes confusing. I quite liked Muriel--who I saw as a foil.How autobiographical is this? Certainly the parts about a struggling writer. This must have rung true-- "...a good story is both an allegory and a slice of life. Most writers are good at one, not the other." Question: was King ever a waitress? These parts [and there is a lot taking place at the restaurant, Iris, seemed very authentic. [I was a waitress, very briefly--for a summer--long ago, but NOT at a high end restaurant] Some of the language was fabulous. A description I never thought of: ...arguing about Ronald Reagan's legacy... he was a Howdy Doody manquė..."and humor "Behind the counter a stout woman is working around her breasts, which rest on the counter, in the way of everything she does.""...three oak trees on the far side of the park. Their limbs are enormous, ribbed with muscles and veins..."I loved the storyline of Casey's time with Oscar's children; it felt very real. This might have been my favorite part of the book.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    In WRITERS & LOVERS, Lily King takes you into the life and mind of thirty-one-year-old Casey Peabody, and it's so entrancing that you'll forget you don't know Casey in real life. At first, Casey doesn't seem special--she's waitressing and living paycheck to paycheck in someone's potting shed. She doesn't have health insurance until she realizes she needs it after a health scare. She's a writer who's been working on the same book for a while and hasn't shown it to anyone. And yet, by the end In WRITERS & LOVERS, Lily King takes you into the life and mind of thirty-one-year-old Casey Peabody, and it's so entrancing that you'll forget you don't know Casey in real life. At first, Casey doesn't seem special--she's waitressing and living paycheck to paycheck in someone's potting shed. She doesn't have health insurance until she realizes she needs it after a health scare. She's a writer who's been working on the same book for a while and hasn't shown it to anyone. And yet, by the end of the first day I spent with Casey—less than 50 pages, and much of that is flashbacks—I was in love with her and ached for her and believed in her. Although the book begins with Casey processing the aftermath of a break-up and follows her as she meets and dates two wildly different men, the core of the book focuses on her grief over her mother's recent death and her ushering of her first novel into the world, two things that are overtly wrapped up in one another. I savored every word of this book and already know that it will be one of my favorite books of 2020.
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  • Olivia Loving
    January 1, 1970
    So. This was right up my alley: first-person, realistic, by a woman, and *about a writer*. I hadn't read Lily King before (I think I considered Euphoria, but I no longer adore historical fiction), and a friend sent me this galley copy. I am very grateful he did, because -- good news! -- I couldn't stop reading it. I felt very 'in' the book, in a way I rarely feel 'in' books anymore, since childhood. At the same time, the language was also very 'obvious,' and the descriptions were, at times, very So. This was right up my alley: first-person, realistic, by a woman, and *about a writer*. I hadn't read Lily King before (I think I considered Euphoria, but I no longer adore historical fiction), and a friend sent me this galley copy. I am very grateful he did, because -- good news! -- I couldn't stop reading it. I felt very 'in' the book, in a way I rarely feel 'in' books anymore, since childhood. At the same time, the language was also very 'obvious,' and the descriptions were, at times, very low-hanging fruit. Like, "mealy, like an old apple"? OK. But I'm here for this subject matter & style (realistic), all the way.
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  • Laura Hill
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Grove Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on March 3rd, 2020.Writing: 5/5 Characters: 5/5 Plot: 4/5A sharply observed tale of a writer’s tumultuous journey. 31-year old Casey Peabody is the very definition of a struggling writer — deep in debt from student loans, living in near-squalor, and six years into her “Great American Novel.” Her mother’s sudden and recent death coupled with a devastating Thank you to Grove Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on March 3rd, 2020.Writing: 5/5 Characters: 5/5 Plot: 4/5A sharply observed tale of a writer’s tumultuous journey. 31-year old Casey Peabody is the very definition of a struggling writer — deep in debt from student loans, living in near-squalor, and six years into her “Great American Novel.” Her mother’s sudden and recent death coupled with a devastating breakup have left her with debilitating panic attacks and general anxiety. Making it through each day is not a done deal.So what makes this book worth reading? For me it’s King’s writing and her ability to meticulously document every aspect of this character’s experience — both personally and as a writer. In many ways, it was hard for me to read about Casey — because we really don’t know her that well, we also live the stress of not knowing if she will be able to get through this period (I’m going to cheat and tell you that she does get through it). In other ways, though, Casey is such an appealing character — her insights and experiences as a writer are fascinating, as are her thoughts about books, teaching literature, and literary criticism. I particularly enjoyed the details of a writer’s workshop near the end — her engagement with the exercises were intriguing.I love her writing — I felt like I was highlighting every other line. The opening paragraph was perfect — it set the stage and drew me in with just few short lines:“I have a pact with myself not to think about money in the morning. I’m like a teenager trying not to think about sex. But I’m also trying not to think about sex. Or Luke. Or death. Which means not thinking about my mother, who died on vacation last winter. There are so many things I can’t think about in order to write in the morning.”A few more great quotes:“I look back on those days and it feels gluttonous, all that time and love and life ahead, no bees in my body and my mother on the other end of the line.”“It’s like a dream, the way they transform from sloped strangers, a man with a crackled bald spot and a woman in a gold jacket, into my father and stepmother.”“Bob chooses this moment to put his hind legs through his front legs and produce a soft tan coil of poop at the base of a Japanese lilac.”“I didn’t much like the writers Paco did, men who wrote tender, poetic sentences that tried to hide the narcissism and misogyny of their stories.”“I should be wary of the guy who locks in too soon. It’s a sort of premature commitulation.”“There’s a particular feeling in your body when something goes right after a long time of things going wrong. It feels warm and sweet and loose.”“All problems with writing and performing come from fear. Fear of exposure, fear of weakness, fear of lack of talent, fear of looking like a fool for trying, for even thinking you could write in the first place. It’s all fear. If we didn’t have fear, imagine the creativity in the world.” “Admire me. Admire me. Admire ‘judge’ and ‘courthouse’ and ‘seven sharp.’ I don’t like myself around Adam. I don’t think he wants me to.”“The bees in my chest stir. A few creep down the inside of my arm. One conversation can destroy my whole morning.”“I love these geese. They make my chest tight and full and help me believe that things will be all right again, that I will pass through this time as I have passed through other times, that the vast and threatening blank ahead of me is a mere specter, that life is lighter and more playful than I’m giving it credit for.”
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  • Terri
    January 1, 1970
    In Writers & Lovers, Casey is living the expected life of a writer in that she's drowning in debt, she's working as a waitress, living in a garden shed, and doesn't quite know how she's ever going to finish a novel and query it. But throughout this book, Casey also has to deal with her mother's recent death, her nonexistent relationship with her father, and multiple relationships with men that often leave her with the choice of settling or risking what could be. I think this paints a In Writers & Lovers, Casey is living the expected life of a writer in that she's drowning in debt, she's working as a waitress, living in a garden shed, and doesn't quite know how she's ever going to finish a novel and query it. But throughout this book, Casey also has to deal with her mother's recent death, her nonexistent relationship with her father, and multiple relationships with men that often leave her with the choice of settling or risking what could be. I think this paints a relatively accurate picture of the post-college writing life. There is no easy or right way to get things done. If you want to survive, you have to spend your time at a job other than writing. If you want to make it as a writer, you have to push the rest of your life aside to get the words on the paper. Casey isn't the first person that gets a career off the ground in fits and starts, and she certainly doesn't let the fate of her book dictate what the rest of her life looks like. The most interesting thing about this novel is that by the end, Casey's life is tied up in a neat little bow. Yes, the reader can see where there will be huge obstacles to come after they are done reading, but for a literary novel, it's as if the ending is almost too nice. Nothing really happened in Casey's life while we were reading, and she only made a few small decisions with any certainty, yet her hopes and wishes are answered in the span of a chapter or two. You want to be happy for her, but you want to question how quickly everything fell into place. *Book provided by NetGalley
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  • Lisa Zeidner
    January 1, 1970
    First off, if you haven’t read Lily King’s astonishing last novel, EUPHORIA, I couldn’t recommend it more highly. It may be my very favorite historical novel, in that it creates a whole world, but in a way so visceral and immediate that you don’t feel the heaviness of the research.Her new novel, WRITERS & LOVERS, could not be more different in subject or setting. Yet King demonstrates the same power for creating identification with a deeply sympathetic character. In this case, we follow First off, if you haven’t read Lily King’s astonishing last novel, EUPHORIA, I couldn’t recommend it more highly. It may be my very favorite historical novel, in that it creates a whole world, but in a way so visceral and immediate that you don’t feel the heaviness of the research.Her new novel, WRITERS & LOVERS, could not be more different in subject or setting. Yet King demonstrates the same power for creating identification with a deeply sympathetic character. In this case, we follow young aspiring writer (and ex-golfer) Casey as she waitresses, frets about her student loans, tries to finish a novel, and dates a series of men—all of them fellow writers with widly varied levels of success. It’s a wonderful portrait of literary ambition: the solitude, the insecurities, the jubilance when things go right.Along the way, as she did with EUPHORIA, King has a lot to say about the problems of succeeding as a woman. Her last protagonist was an anthropologist, but the same kinds of double standards and barriers exist for Casey in making it in her field. One of her lovers is a famous novelist, and Casey shrewdly assesses his petulance about his literary career. All of the novel’s feminist messages are delivered subtly, with a great deal of saucy humor.Lily King is an amazing chronicler of women’s lives. At this point I’d place her in a category with Alice Munro—not a comparison I offer lightly.
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    I am always grateful for Netgalley allowing me to read and review books...this book is certainly one I am thankful for. Narrated by Casey, an author/waitress whose life has spun out of control after the mysterious death of her mother. Despite her own sorrow and depression, the world is unkind, further cutting into her fragile emotional state. The concept of well-educated people living in poverty, trying to pay back endless student loans, afraid of needing medical care, because they are I am always grateful for Netgalley allowing me to read and review books...this book is certainly one I am thankful for. Narrated by Casey, an author/waitress whose life has spun out of control after the mysterious death of her mother. Despite her own sorrow and depression, the world is unkind, further cutting into her fragile emotional state. The concept of well-educated people living in poverty, trying to pay back endless student loans, afraid of needing medical care, because they are uninsured, is very timely in our current political climate. References to “Me Too” and other sex scandals and coverups are blended into the plot. Somehow, with all the issues that Casey faces (there are many, which I won’t enumerate) the novel has a sense of hope and triumph. I was totally engaged by the beautiful writing and the heroine who never lost her ability to love and care. I’m still rooting for Casey and thinking about her....that’s what makes for a great novel.
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  • Paula Pergament
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very relatable story. Everyone has that time in their lives when it seems that things fall apart. The heroine of Writers & Lovers, Casey, finds herself at a crossroads. Her mother passes away, her lover returns to his wife, her job as a waitress is challenging in all the wrong ways, and she is facing crushing debt. What keeps her afloat are a circle of friends and her writing. Everyone faces a terrible time, and Lily King has given readers a heroine to root for; she breaks through This is a very relatable story. Everyone has that time in their lives when it seems that things fall apart. The heroine of Writers & Lovers, Casey, finds herself at a crossroads. Her mother passes away, her lover returns to his wife, her job as a waitress is challenging in all the wrong ways, and she is facing crushing debt. What keeps her afloat are a circle of friends and her writing. Everyone faces a terrible time, and Lily King has given readers a heroine to root for; she breaks through her personal logjam after being able to health insurance and access to a therapist. Casey is able to get out of a potential relationship with a man who is bad for her, apply for several jobs (and finally get one that is a great fit), and get a book deal. Everything comes together at the same time, and a bit conveniently. However, this is a satisfying read and a good introduction to Lily King's writing.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I am not a romance fan, but I found myself enjoying this book. Casey is a 31 year old with a masters in creative writing, a novel she wants to finish and a huge debt. She works as a waitress so she can write during the day. Her love life seems to be in shambles and her anxiety gets the better of her. But she is strong and gets encouragement from her friends and learns more about herself from having to decide between the two men who are interested in her.As I said, I don't really gravitate toward I am not a romance fan, but I found myself enjoying this book. Casey is a 31 year old with a masters in creative writing, a novel she wants to finish and a huge debt. She works as a waitress so she can write during the day. Her love life seems to be in shambles and her anxiety gets the better of her. But she is strong and gets encouragement from her friends and learns more about herself from having to decide between the two men who are interested in her.As I said, I don't really gravitate toward romances, but this one looked interesting. I enjoyed it as it focused more on the protagonist than it did on the romance. The author did a great job in her descriptions of Casey's emotions and the struggles she was going through. I enjoyed the journey she went through to find her happiness. It is a lovely, quick read.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I am not a romance fan, but I found myself enjoying this book. Casey is a 31 year old with a masters in creative writing, a novel she wants to finish and a huge debt. She works as a waitress so she can write during the day. Her love life seems to be in shambles and her anxiety gets the better of her. But she is strong and gets encouragement from her friends and learns more about herself from having to decide between the two men who are interested in her.As I said, I don't really gravitate toward I am not a romance fan, but I found myself enjoying this book. Casey is a 31 year old with a masters in creative writing, a novel she wants to finish and a huge debt. She works as a waitress so she can write during the day. Her love life seems to be in shambles and her anxiety gets the better of her. But she is strong and gets encouragement from her friends and learns more about herself from having to decide between the two men who are interested in her.As I said, I don't really gravitate toward romances, but this one looked interesting. I enjoyed it as it focused more on the protagonist than it did on the romance. The author did a great job in her descriptions of Casey's emotions and the struggles she was going through. I enjoyed the journey she went through to find her happiness. It is a lovely, quick read.
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  • Anya Leonard
    January 1, 1970
    Unlike previous titles by this author, this was set in a contemporary time period. The story follows an aspiring author through the trials of trying to get her book published and navigate the dating scene of artistic people in her area. It doesn't sound very fascinating, but King does an incredible job of creating a character arc for Casey that surprisingly touched me in ways that I did not expect. Having lost my mother, I really related to the emotions that the character was feeling and how she Unlike previous titles by this author, this was set in a contemporary time period. The story follows an aspiring author through the trials of trying to get her book published and navigate the dating scene of artistic people in her area. It doesn't sound very fascinating, but King does an incredible job of creating a character arc for Casey that surprisingly touched me in ways that I did not expect. Having lost my mother, I really related to the emotions that the character was feeling and how she dealt with her grief. It was a clearly very well researched and well executed plot for this wonderful read. A great read for anyone looking for something to touch your heart. This ebook was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Suanne
    January 1, 1970
    Lily King’s Writers & Lovers is an extraordinary novel. As a writer I appreciate King’s efforts at capturing the life of a writer. This is King’s fifth novel and good enough that I’ll backtrack and read her prior works.Her protagonist, Casey Peabody, is fascinating. She’s processing the sudden death of her mother with whom she’s relatively recently reconciled as well as living with the knowledge that her father was a complete ass. She’s been in a series of disastrous failed relationships and Lily King’s Writers & Lovers is an extraordinary novel. As a writer I appreciate King’s efforts at capturing the life of a writer. This is King’s fifth novel and good enough that I’ll backtrack and read her prior works.Her protagonist, Casey Peabody, is fascinating. She’s processing the sudden death of her mother with whom she’s relatively recently reconciled as well as living with the knowledge that her father was a complete ass. She’s been in a series of disastrous failed relationships and has fears of never being loved. To support herself, however poorly, while working on her novel (going on six years now) she works as a waitress in an upscale restaurant. She’s overwhelmed by student loan debt, medical problems, and relationship problems. She endures sexism both in the restaurant and in the writing world. Her hopes, fears, missteps, and triumphs are emotionally compelling. King’s beautifully documents every aspect of Casey’s character. Casey’s insights into the world of writing are fascinating and often humorous—and I feel at least somewhat autobiographical. I enjoyed reading her thoughts about books, literary criticism, and teaching high school literature. The prose linguistically sophisticated, but clean and uncluttered.I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an impartial review.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I am always excited to get a chance to read an advance copy and this one came highly recommended- there is much I liked about this story and the writing. I enjoyed the setting - Boston in the late 90s- and the protagonist. I agree with other reviewers that it is uneven and most disappointing is the ending. I won't spoil it but as is typical with endings that disappoint, all the authentic confusing uncertainty of the protagonists life (and the plot) is wrapped up neatly. Specifically I didn't I am always excited to get a chance to read an advance copy and this one came highly recommended- there is much I liked about this story and the writing. I enjoyed the setting - Boston in the late 90s- and the protagonist. I agree with other reviewers that it is uneven and most disappointing is the ending. I won't spoil it but as is typical with endings that disappoint, all the authentic confusing uncertainty of the protagonists life (and the plot) is wrapped up neatly. Specifically I didn't enjoy bits of the back story suddenly surfacing - especially re her brother. As this novel is about a writer trying to complete a novel, I can't help but think King had the ending written first and then had to maneuver us there. A good read if you don't get hung up on neat endings.
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  • Erin Dale
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much to #NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for letting me read and review this book. I loved this book SO. VERY. MUCH!!! I heard about this on the podcast What should I Read Next and it sounded somewhat interesting. But once I started reading, I literally could NOT put it down. I am a lover of stories that feature a character who is struggling with their life but then overcome their obstacles through hard work and sheer determination. And this is definitely one of those characters. But Thank you so much to #NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for letting me read and review this book. I loved this book SO. VERY. MUCH!!! I heard about this on the podcast What should I Read Next and it sounded somewhat interesting. But once I started reading, I literally could NOT put it down. I am a lover of stories that feature a character who is struggling with their life but then overcome their obstacles through hard work and sheer determination. And this is definitely one of those characters. But it wasn’t just the story. It was the way it was told so beautifully. Such wonderful description that made me feel like I was right there. It was so visceral. I loved every minute of it and plan on going back to read the authors back list. Thank you Lily King! #writerslovers
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  • Erin Dale
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much to #NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for letting me read and review this book. I loved this book SO. VERY. MUCH!!! I heard about this on the podcast What should I Read Next and it sounded somewhat interesting. But once I started reading, I literally could NOT put it down. I am a lover of stories that feature a character who is struggling with their life but then overcome their obstacles through hard work and sheer determination. And this is definitely one of those characters. But Thank you so much to #NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for letting me read and review this book. I loved this book SO. VERY. MUCH!!! I heard about this on the podcast What should I Read Next and it sounded somewhat interesting. But once I started reading, I literally could NOT put it down. I am a lover of stories that feature a character who is struggling with their life but then overcome their obstacles through hard work and sheer determination. And this is definitely one of those characters. But it wasn’t just the story. It was the way it was told so beautifully. Such wonderful description that made me feel like I was right there. It was so visceral. I loved every minute of it and plan on going back to read the authors back list. Thank you Lily King! #writerslovers
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  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    Lily King is a wonderful writer. This is a rom com for young women writers carrying college debt for degrees that can't generate enough income to pay off the debt. My daughter has an MFA so it struck a chord. Like Wild by Cheryl Strayed, the theme is the loss of a beloved mother, a very disappointing father, and living with the bad decisions of one's 20s. But no hiking. I would love to lose the detail of the banana seat bike - very distracting because not possible to commute on that type of a Lily King is a wonderful writer. This is a rom com for young women writers carrying college debt for degrees that can't generate enough income to pay off the debt. My daughter has an MFA so it struck a chord. Like Wild by Cheryl Strayed, the theme is the loss of a beloved mother, a very disappointing father, and living with the bad decisions of one's 20s. But no hiking. I would love to lose the detail of the banana seat bike - very distracting because not possible to commute on that type of a bike - they are really for drug dealers going very short distance. Maybe a rickety 3 speed would have made the same point about her poverty but still been capable of getting her to work.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced copy without knowing much about the author, and enjoyed the read! The book begins by pulling you in with references to some life events for the narrator (who is also working on a novel). Intrigued, I jumped in and the chapters flew by. It's a bit like a beach read, one of those books you can enjoy over a long afternoon or weekend and can keep your thesaurus in the other room :-) I appreciated that the author had a note at the beginning encouraging you to read the book in I received an advanced copy without knowing much about the author, and enjoyed the read! The book begins by pulling you in with references to some life events for the narrator (who is also working on a novel). Intrigued, I jumped in and the chapters flew by. It's a bit like a beach read, one of those books you can enjoy over a long afternoon or weekend and can keep your thesaurus in the other room :-) I appreciated that the author had a note at the beginning encouraging you to read the book in your own time.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    This book is about grief, relationships, writing and waitressing! It's about books, reading, mourning and dead mothers! Every detail paints a picture; at times I felt like I knew the main character better than I know my family and friends. Some scenes were so good - I read the scene with the chess match multiple times. I found myself rooting for the main character throughout the entire book as if she was a child of mine - flaws and all.Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an early release in This book is about grief, relationships, writing and waitressing! It's about books, reading, mourning and dead mothers! Every detail paints a picture; at times I felt like I knew the main character better than I know my family and friends. Some scenes were so good - I read the scene with the chess match multiple times. I found myself rooting for the main character throughout the entire book as if she was a child of mine - flaws and all.Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an early release in exchange for an honest and fair review.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    I have never wished to be an influencer as much as I do after reading this novel. All of the things that are true about this novel could make it pretentious or self conscious- the spare language, a book about writers and writing, the setting in the rarefied air of Cambridge - if it were not for the complete humanity of its protagonist. Casey is me and you and anyone who has pursued a dream and rather than feeling brave feels less-than, uncertain, unworthy only to find out that we may have a I have never wished to be an influencer as much as I do after reading this novel. All of the things that are true about this novel could make it pretentious or self conscious- the spare language, a book about writers and writing, the setting in the rarefied air of Cambridge - if it were not for the complete humanity of its protagonist. Casey is me and you and anyone who has pursued a dream and rather than feeling brave feels less-than, uncertain, unworthy only to find out that we may have a little more magic inside of us than we realize.
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