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Media Center: ‘Sweetbitter’ by Stephanie Danler

May 12th, 2016

WHO: Stephanie Danler

WHAT: SWEETBITTER, a novel

WHEN: Published by Knopf May 24, 2016

WHERE: The story is set in Manhattan.

WHY: “This novel is a treat.
“A quintessential coming-of-age story. 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 Café.
“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.”
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

“From her very first sentence, Danler aims to mesmerize, to seduce,
to fill you with sensual cravings.”
—KIRKUS, starred review

“Deliciously vivid descriptions…dark, churning moments.”
—Cortney Ophoff, BOOKLIST

“Captures the wild abandon of youth set free in an environment
where there are no rules.”
—Joanna Burkhardt, LIBRARY JOURNAL

From the beginning of the book:
You will develop a palate. A palate is a spot on your tongue where you remember. Where you assign words to the textures of taste. Eating becomes a discipline, language-obsessed. You will never simply eat food again.

Jacket photo




Media Resources:
About the book and author | Author tour | Download the jacket | Download the author photo

Knopf. 356 pages. $25 ISBN 978-1-101-87594-0


Publicist for this title:
Jordan Rodman | 212-782-9714 | jrodman@penguinrandomhouse.com