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Sweetbitter Hardcover – 2 Jun 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (2 Jun. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780749155
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780749150
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 212,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

‘A must-read’

(Irish Times)

‘A raw, shucked, pungent, wild love story.’

(Marie Claire)

'A stunning debut novel, one that seems destined to help define a generation.’

(Jay McInerney)

‘Danler’s writing is lush, ambitious and precise, and it’s impossible not to be impressed and taken in by her story’s grip on the heartbeat of youth and anxiety in a fast-moving city…At times manic, at times heartbreaking, it’s a sure-fire holiday read’.

(Irish Independent)

‘When provincial 22-year-old Tess arrives in New York to become a waitress at a high-end restaurant, she’s struck by a new appetite for life, and love, for the first time’.

(Grazia)

'A fantastic read - think Girls meets Kitchen Confidential'.

(Stylist)

‘An intoxicating smorgasbord of culinary exploration. [Danler’s] vivid description will have your mouth watering…a whip-smart, charming and wry coming-of-age story. In a literary world increasingly populated with gritty anti-heroines, Sweetbitter is a welcome breath of fresh air’.

(Sunday Herald)

‘Playful and questing, it’s an adrenalised love song to the openness of the city and its privileged enclaves; to the torrid connections and giddy independence it inspires; and to the intensity of the seasons that broil and then bite’.

(Mail on Sunday)

‘This clever debut is all about illusions…Danler’s intense, psychedelic style makes you feel slightly drunk, and you won’t view eating out in the same way again’.

(Daily Mail)

‘The vervy sassiness ultimately avoids emulation or hipster desperation.. Tess develop into something greater than the collection of snappy one-liners and smart observations some of her male predecessors turned out to be.  This is a deep-thinking, feeling woman, as vulnerable as she is tenacious.  Her coke-enhanced sexual exploits…are often oddly moving, beautifully written little confessions… As her self-awareness grows, it’s increasingly difficult to resist her charms.’

(Big Issue)

'A smart meld of sexy subjects within a classic come-of-age framework, written in a particular kind of intense, self-consciously semi-poetic prose….its straight-faced commitment to the sensual high notes – from sea urchins to sexual obsession – will assure plenty of attention.'

(BookOxygen)

‘Impressively polished, the rare much-hyped book that lives up to its billing: endearing yet unsentimental, smart and fun, a bildungsroman mercifully free of cliché. Lyrical, insightful, and funny…a total immersion in what it’s like to be young and hungry. The reader is sure to gasp along with each new discovery until she has finished and is left wanting more.’ 

(Eugenia Williamson, Boston Globe)

‘A killer novel…a worthy addition to the rich literary tradition of writing about coming of age in New York City and, like the best of these novels, it captures the spirit of a generation in the process.’ 

(Mallory Rice, S-W-E-E-T)

‘This book will be a hit… one bite and you will devour it.’ 

(Sarah Jampel, Food 52)

'Reading Sweetbitter is an exercise in the senses, every word a delicious bit of visceral chew.’

(Jenny Bahn, sixtyhotels.com)

‘Food and feeling are natural partners; this debut novel…is a feast of both. Like her sexual awakening, Tess’s culinary enlightenment is vivid and exquisite.’

(Annalisa Quinn, npr.org)

'Danler’s food writing is outrageously good. Danler’s writing about everything, in fact, is outrageously good. [Sweetbitter] is a literary jewel, a beautiful display of crisp, evocative writing that will have anyone who loves words and language salivating…I have a feeling Sweetbitter may turn out to be a delectable appetizer in a long, fruitful writing career.’ 

(Catherine Mallette, Star-Telegram)

‘Perfectly captures the raw possibility of a young woman’s first year in New York, opening up to a whole new world of wine, food, love and heartbreak.’ 

(Mackenzie Dawson, New York Post)

‘An unpretentious, truth-dealing novel… about hunger of every variety. Ms. Danler is a sensitive observer… and gifted commenter on many things. Sweetbitter is going to make a lot of people hungry.’ 

(Dwight Garner, New York Times)

‘An outstanding job...brilliantly written...so engrossing to read, I missed a flight even though I had already checked in and was waiting at the gate. [Danler is an] excellent writer. Sweetbitter is the Kitchen Confidential of our time.’ 

(Gabrielle Hamilton, New York Times Book Review)

‘Stephanie Danler’s prose – like the New York life her young heroine longs for – intoxicates the senses. A charming, harrowing debut.’ 

(Jonathan Dee, author of The Privileges and A Thousand Pardons)

Sweetbitter is the most delicious fine dining: oysters so perfect they make you moan, impossibly expensive champagne, truffle shavings like snowflakes. This story of food and lust and youth and the negotiations of intimacy is so breathless, so intense, so utterly absorbing, I’m still nursing my emotional hangover. Step aside Catcher in the Rye, Sex and the City, and Woody Allen. We have a new New York City – the most dazzling one yet. Stephanie Danler’s debut is extraordinary.’

(Diana Spechler, author of Who By Fire and Skinny)

'Incandescent, with visceral and gorgeous descriptions of flavors, pitch-perfect overheard dialogue, deep knowledge of food, wine, and the restaurant business…Danler aims to mesmerize, to seduce, to fill you with sensual cravings. She also offers the rare impassioned defense of Britney Spears. As they say at the restaurant: pick up!’ 

(Kirkus (starred review))

‘Stephanie Danler has written an excellent coming-of-age novel built around the down-and-dirty adventure of meeting the public in a service job. A mix of humor, realism, and occasional ghastliness, this well-told tale will keep you helplessly binge-reading to find out what happens next to its endangered heroine. An accomplishment!’ 

(Atticus Lish, author of Preparation For the Next Life)

Sweetbitter... dresses the bones of a classic coming-of-age story with the lusty flesh and blood of a bawdy early twenty-first-century picaresque... Danler... quickly draws you into the sparkling surfaces and the shadowy underbelly of the city... [Tess's] insatiable hunger for tactile, sensual satisfaction dares you to tag along. The journey is high-minded and dirty, beastly and bountiful.’ 

(Elle)

‘Rich in sensory descriptions, the kind of book that one doesn’t just read but devours.’ 

(Time Out)

The prose in itself is a dopamine tease: when Danler describes the brininess of a Kumamoto oyster chased with chocolate stout or the lights over the bar in summer twilight, I wanted to get drunk and slurp seafood with my friends.’ 

(The Paris Review)

'mmaculately true to its time and place. [Danler's] food writing is lush and precise... and her confiding narrator, Tess, a raw, knowing, and crisp companion.’ 

(Vulture)

‘Danler’s ravishing debut is like inhabiting the heady after-midnight hours of a city drunk on its own charms…[her] descriptions of food and drink go beyond mouth-watering, verging on orgasmic…a first novel [that] tantalizes, seduces, satisfies.’

(Leigh Haber, O Magazine)

‘Tess’ sensual awakening to food: creamy, ash-dusted cheeses; anchovies drenched in olive oil; dense, fleshy figs like “a slap from another sun-soaked world” [is] the book’s true romance – the heady first taste of self-discovery, bitter and salty and sweet.’ 

(Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly)

‘Danler can be a brilliant observer of the city; she can make dialogue snap; she is unafraid to give us a protagonist whose drive can be monstrous.’

(Newsday)

Sweetbitter is the rare novel that transcends its hype... Come for the Meyer-lemon-tart narrator, Tess; stay for author Danler’s lush and precise writing about food, drugs, and dives.’

(New York Magazine)

‘Danler’s sexy, astute debut is really a love story about the addictive pull of restaurant life… Anyone who’s ever tied on an apron will think, “Finally, someone wrote a book about us.” And nailed it.’ 

(People)

‘Danler exquisitely captures the world of restaurants in writing that is equal parts dreamy and sharp-edged. A vibrant celebration of taste, wine, pleasure, and New York City.’ 

(Food & Wine)

'Sweetbitter is urgent and heady, written with great attention to both environment and inner life, detailing desire and intimacy and the navigation of lust. The descriptions of life inside the restaurant are every bit as exhilarating as the lush descriptions of food throughout – heirloom tomatoes and Kumamoto oysters and endless Sancerre.’

(Guernica)

‘Danler's novel paints a visceral, evocative portrait of what it's like to move to New York in your early twenties. Her spot-on descriptions of New York 10 years ago and Tess' evolution from naif to world-weary server, all in just one year, elevate "Sweetbitter" – the opposite of "Bittersweet" – above its chic-lit trappings into an irresistible coming-of-age tale that can truly be savored.’

(Mae Anderson, Associated Press)

'The perfect coming of age read'.

(Marie Claire)

‘A book that'll stay glued to your hands as you race through the pages in one sitting.’

(Elle)

‘I loved this novel so, so much. It's rare that a book conveys with such unerring precision what it's like to be young... This book belongs with all the great essential young-female-in-New York classics.’

(Kate Christensen, author of the PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novel The Great Man)

‘Gorgeous, sensual prose and a page-turning plot line that casts a spell down to the very last sentence of the final page…tantalizing in all the right ways’

(Refinery29)

'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…Throughout, Danler evokes Tess’s voice―intimate, confiding, wonderstruck, depressed―with deft skill. This novel is a treat, sure to find a big following.'

(Publishers Weekly)

'There's even a Dangerous Liaisons-type love triangle with the beautiful, naïve young narrator at its apex... The writing is mostly incandescent, with visceral and gorgeous descriptions of flavors, pitch-perfect overheard dialogue, deep knowledge of food, wine and the restaurant business... From her very first sentences… Danler aims to mesmerize, to seduce, to fill you with sensual cravings. She also offers the rare impassioned defense of Britney Spears. As they say at the restaurant: pick up!’

(Kirkus, starred review)

About the Author

Stephanie Danler attended Kenyon College and received her MFA in Fiction from The New School. Upon arriving in New York she reluctantly turned down an entry level job at a publishing house (upon learning the salary was incommensurate with paying rent) and found work as a back-waiter in Union Square Cafe. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.  


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this read since I'm in the catering business, could really relate
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I tore through it, couldn't put it down, rudely avoided people on holiday just to get back to it sooner. It's wonderful, I can't wait to see what she does next.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A surprisingly deep light read about coming of age and learning about love as a young woman the the big city. A great and enjoyable read!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has one of the unique and rare writing styles that are hard to come by these days and leaves a memorable impact. I loved every page of it and thoroughly enjoyed the unique storyline.
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By TLK on 10 April 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Started out not really warming to the main character but as time progressed i began to believe in Tess and most of the people around her.
Some fabulous and poetic language describing the seasons in the city of NY and sadly an accurate insight into the lives of people working in hospitality.
More than i usually spend on a kindle book but worth it.
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Format: Hardcover
I absolutely flew through this book, it was a great easy read. The characters are vivid, and you come out feeling like you have a real feel for the service industry. If you've worked in a restaurant, or you're interested in them, you'll love this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish I would have read the poor reviews from amazon.com rather than the more easily seduced cos its New York as we want it to be brits . I should have also ignored the rave from the observer which made me waste money on a hard back , which I never do. This book irritated me from start to finish. It was a mash up of so much and yet so shallow; she is as innocent as 50 shades and yet dipping into Bright lights big city with kitchen confidential in her hand bag and SJP as her muse and pretentiousness of student poets over writing all their trauma. Its the story of a silly little girl who in the end realises she is still a silly little girl. We get nothing of her back life, so why should we even care. She is nothing, not even a waiter. the love story is so chick lit with just a few phrases from a Bon Appetit. It neither fulfilled my lust for good food porn nor for a sexy tell as it is story. There are lots of great food memoirs out there you are better off reading to get your back of house fix.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ah, another one of those... When SJP mentioned (note: did not praise) "Sweetbitter" by Stephanie Danler on her Instagram page twice I kinda had to get it. Especially when all the comments after the post were in agreement that the book was un-put-downable, great, thrilling. HA. Not at all. Or maybe not for me. Did not amuse my palate.

Moreover, I could not find a single reason to understand why the reviews of this book were as good as they were (currently trending at 5 stars on the UK amazon - what??). Food, growing up in a small town, moving to NYC, your life finally beginning (!), falling in love with a questionable man, a few pages of modern romance, the end. Call it "coming of age" while flicking through coffee table books of wine regions of France.

I was slightly annoyed at all times while reading it. I don't know what was it - overhype or just plain uninspiring writing (God, yes). The plot where serving personnel of a "legendary" NYC restaurant went around doing drugs while quoting Kant does not inspire me. And the characters... For example. Misha and Sasha. So similar in their one-dimension-ness that until 95% of the book I thought it was one person and was always wondering what gender he/she was. You would never believe it but Misha is a girl... And don't even let me start on sex scenes.

I just read somebody describing Danler's writing as "hip". Oh please deliver me from evil. Yes, I am not sweet on this, I am very, very bitter. Am I missing something??
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