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Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
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Sweetbitter

by Stephanie Danler

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6174223,825 (3.17)24

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English (40)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
The tasting and restaurant work descriptions were a lot of fun, and the narrator's voice fit the character of a naive young woman throwing herself into NYC restaurant life. What little other plot there was, centered on a bad boyfriend and other bad choices that didn't always make much sense. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
Very entertaining. ( )
  KellyFordon | Mar 6, 2019 |
So much hype. It was well written, beautiful in places. But, as always, if I don't like the protagonists, I can't like the book either... ( )
  RekhainBC | Feb 15, 2019 |
I enjoyed this book. As a lover of non fiction cooking books, this was so well written I thought it was non fiction... but its not. Her obsession with Jake and Simone drove me insane! And what she did to Howard towards the end? um ew... I hated the ending... I don't think the ending was well done. Just my opinion. All in all a good read. ( )
  booklover3258 | Dec 14, 2018 |
3 1/2 stars
I liked the ambition of both the novel and the protagonist. As an aside, I am SO glad I did not have a Jake to contend with when I was 22. ( )
  Katie80 | Oct 8, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
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 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.
added by kthomp25 | editPublisher's Weekly
 
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Epigraph
Eros once again limb-loosener whirls me Sweetbitter, impossible to fight off, creature stealing up. - Sappho, translated by Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet.
"Let us now cast a philosophical glance at the pleasure or pain of which taste may be the occasion." - Brillat-Severin, translated by Anne Drayton, The Physiology of Taste.
Dedication
For my grandparents Margaret Barton Ferrero and James Vercelli Ferrero.
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You will develop a palate.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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, 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 elite restaurants.
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"A lush, thrilling debut--a publishing event already the subject of an article in The New York Times--about a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, alluring world of a famous downtown New York restaurant. "Let's say I was born when I came over the George Washington Bridge..." This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the 22-year-old at the heart of this stunning debut. Shot like a bullet from a mundane past, she's come to New York to escape the provincial, to take on her destiny. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned Union Square restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life of a "backwaiter," on and off duty. Her appetites are awakened, for food, wine, knowledge and experience; and she's pulled into the thrall of two other servers--a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman whose connection to both young lovers is murky, sensual, and overpowering. These two will prove to be Tess's hardest lesson of all. Sweetbitter is a story about discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment"--"A year in the life of a young woman who comes to New York to discover herself"--… (more)

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