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A novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.



Soon to be a series on Starz

"Brilliantly written. . . . Outstanding."—The New York Times Book Review

Newly arrived in New York City, twenty-two-year-old Tess lands a job working front of house at a celebrated downtown restaurant. What follows is her education: in champagne and cocaine, love and lust, dive bars and fine dining rooms, as she learns to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing life she has chosen. The story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the glitzy, grimy backdrop of New York’s most elite restaurants, in Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and high-adrenaline world of the food industry and evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, and the fragility and brutality of being young and adrift.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 07, 2015 – This debut is a quintessential coming-of-age story set in a remorseless, unusual city. Time and place are superbly established: the setting is the behind-the-scenes milieu of a celebrated restaurant in 2006 Manhattan. Propelled by "unbridled, unfocused desire" but still essentially naive, 22-year-old Tess has fled an empty life in the Midwest and landed a coveted job as a server in a restaurant that strongly resembles the famous Union Square Caf . At first crushingly lonely and exhausted by the arduous routine, Tess is mentored by longtime senior server Simone. Despite warnings to avoid falling for bartender Jake, and willfully blind to the strange relationship between Jake and Simone, Tess begins a passionate affair with him. Meanwhile, she becomes an accepted member of a select society of overworked, terminally tense and bone-tired wait staff. Danler writes about food with sensory gusto as Tess learns how to distinguish the fine points of every wine, how to identify an heirloom tomato or oyster, how to shave a truffle. Tess also learns how to get seriously drunk and snort lines of coke. Early on, she defines the foods and condiments that are sweet and those that are bitter and her relationships with Simone and Jake are ultimately just that: a sweet time of consummate happiness followed by bitter betrayal. Throughout, Danler evokes Tess's voice intimate, confiding, wonderstruck, depressed with deft skill. This novel is a treat, sure to find a big following.

Customer Reviews

Depressing and pointless story

I was really excited to read this book and get the inside scoop on the inner workings of an iconic restaurant in NY. What I got instead was the lurid, drug fueled “journey” of an extremely lost woman who stumbles into NYC from the Midwest and nearly lets the city eat her alive. I couldn’t sympathize at all with the main protagonist, her predictable forced relationship with a damaged man or her shocking lack of self respect and confusing self-imposed isolation. We were never even offered a glimpse into her past to maybe connect with her present self-destructive behavior. And everyone she met was horrible and selfish. It really isn’t that impossible to meet and make friends with decent people in Manhattan. I was forcing myself to finish this book because I paid for it. Don’t waste your time and money.

No Plot, Painful Read

I can't imagine why this book is so highly raved about. There is no plot, and the basis of the book is about drugs and sex. Call it a coming of age novel if you want, but I didn't even see the main character (or any character) change their ways throughout the book. I read the whole book and was highly disappointed. The book lacks everything a good book should have.

Time for a shower

I finished this book only because it was for a book discussion and felt like I had to plow thru. Boring, incoherent, depressing and unredeptive.

View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Published: May 24, 2016
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings