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The Last Book Party: 05/26/21

The Last Book Party

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess is set in Cape Cod in the summer of 1987. Eve Rosen is an aspiring young writer who has landed a job in publishing. That job has introduced her into a close circle of writers. Some are long time success stories and others are up and coming. All of them are corrupt and terrible in one way or another and she's completely suckered by them all.

The crux of this story is the plot of a novel. The up and coming young author is about to build his career on it. From the description though, it's a typical white privileged man writing a savior story. To disguise what he's doing, he's written it from the point of view of a young woman with leprosy. It's the same trick used in What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein (2016). I didn't like the plot device when it involved Tibetan elephants and orphans and I don't like here at the shining example of literature (even as a fictional example).

Of course there can only be one masterfully conceived of plot and it turns out this leprosy novel was stolen from another author — the gracious host of the titular "book party." Here's the point where the novel could have redeemed itself. If novel lamp-shaded the way some men make their careers by writing savior wanker fiction disguised as literature, then this book could have been funny in a train wreck sort of way, like The Player by Michael Tolkin (1988). Imagine if entire careers going back centuries had all been variations on this idiotic plot? Comedy gold.

As it is, it's a dry, angsty book about a young woman making poor choices in 1987.

Two stars

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