A Prolific Parable of Publishing

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The golden age of publishing can easily be summed up as the very apt title Suzanne Rindell chose for her novel, Three-Martini Lunch. When ideas and alcohol are flowing, deals are rather easily made.

In the late 1950s in the mecca of publishing, New York City, the writing and publishing endeavors of three young people intertwine to form a complex narrative that seems to stem from ancient tropes. Clifford Nelson is the son of an editor at a publishing house who has lived a fairly privileged life but wants to pursue writing as a career, with a secret motive to do so to gain his father’s approval. Eden Katz is an ambitious girl from Indiana would wants to become an editor at a publishing house and is ready to work her way up for it. Miles Tillman is an incredibly intelligent and capable writer from Harlem who is on a journey to find out more about his father’s military life via journals left out in California. As these three characters develop they become friends, and enemies against one another as well as themselves.

Told from rotating perspectives of Cliff, Eden, and Miles, there is enough variety in voice to keep from being too repetitive as each character offers a unique, diverse perspective on their publishing endeavors. The story of the three-martini lunch and the golden age of publishing, which still enamors many young people (myself included), is reminiscent of a past era, yet still resonates with the way business is still conducted. My main contention with the narrative is how long it took for things to start happening–it felt as if there was too much focus given to establishing the characters while they essentially did nothing.

Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

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