At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She spends her days in the plush, wood-panelled agency, where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and old-time agents doze at their desks after martini lunches, and at night she goes home to the tiny, threadbare Brooklyn apartment she shares with her socialist boyfriend. Precariously balanced between glamour and poverty, surrounded by titanic personalities and struggling to trust her own artistic sense, Joanna is given the task of answering Salingers voluminous fan mail. But as she reads the candid, heart-wrenching letters from his readers around the world, she finds herself unable to type out the agencys decades-old form response. Instead, drawn inexorably into the emotional world of Salingers devotees, she abandons the template and begins writing back Poignant, keenly observed and irresistibly funny, My Salinger Year is a memoir about literary New York in the late 1990s, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself swept into one of the last great stories and entangled with one of the last great figures of the century. Above all, it is the coming-of-age story of a talented writer and a testament to the universal power of books to shape our lives.
Poignant, keenly observed, and irresistibly funny: a memoir about literary New York in the late nineties, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself entangled with one of the last great figures of the century. At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She spends her days in a plush, wood-paneled office, where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and old-time agents doze at their desks after martini lunches. At night she goes home to the tiny, threadbare Williamsburg apartment she shares with her socialist boyfriend. Precariously balanced between glamour and poverty, surrounded by titanic personalities, and struggling to trust her own artistic instinct, Rakoff is tasked with answering Salinger´s voluminous fan mail. But as she reads the candid, heart-wrenching letters from his readers around the world, she finds herself unable to type out the agency´s decades-old form response. Instead, drawn inexorably into the emotional world of Salinger´s devotees, she abandons the template and begins writing back. Over the course of the year, she finds her own voice by acting as Salinger´s, on her own dangerous and liberating terms. Rakoff paints a vibrant portrait of a bright, hungry young woman navigating a heady and longed-for world, trying to square romantic aspirations with burgeoning self-awareness, the idea of a life with life itself. Charming and deeply moving, filled with electrifying glimpses of an American literary icon, My Salinger Year is the coming-of-age story of a talented writer. Above all, it is a testament to the universal power of books to shape our lives and awaken our true selves.
Dawn French, number one bestselling author of A Tiny Bit Marvellous and Oh Dear Silvia, returns with her joyously funny new novel, According To YES. The Foreign Land of the Very Wealthy - otherwise known as Manhattan´s Upper East Side - has its own rigid code of behaviour. It´s a code strictly adhered to by the Wilder-Bingham family. Emotional displays - unacceptable. Unruly behaviour - definitely not welcome. Fun - no thanks. This is Glenn Wilder-Bingham´s kingdom. A beautifully displayed impeccably edited fortress of restraint. So when Rosie Kitto, an eccentric thirty-eight-year-old primary school teacher from England, bounces into their lives with a secret sorrow and a heart as big as the city, nobody realises that she hasn´t read the rule book. For the Wilder-Bingham family, whose lives begin to unravel thread by thread, the consequences are explosive. Because after a lifetime of saying no, what happens when everyone starts saying . . . yes? ´I adored According to YES. It´s so different to anything I´ve read in forever, so charming, wise, brilliantly written. I loved it all´ Marian Keyes ´There is lots of fun to be had reading this book. It´s impossible not to warm to Rosie, a funny and open-hearted woman who acts as a salve and comfort blanket for this unhappy, inhibited family. There´s something quite joyous about the way she unashamedly romps her way through the novel, changing the lives of those around her for the better´ Express ´French can spin a yarn . . . which sets According to YES apart from the usual chick-lit template. Think the vicar of Dibley, without the dog collar. YES YES YES indeed´ Independent Further praise for Dawn French: ´A fantastic slam-dunk pageturner. Funny, enriching . . . page after page I laughed out loud´ Mail on Sunday ´A hilarious snapshot of family life in the twenty-first century´ Sunday Express ´Extremely funny´ Sunday Times ´Dawn tackles the big ones - love, death, grief, childhood, motherhood, parenthood - head on´ Guardian ´Makes you laugh on every page´ The Times ´A brilliantly observed, very funny novel of family life´ Woman and Home ´Funny, really enjoyable, highly recommended. A wonderful writer - witty, wise, poignant´ Daily Mail