Alexandra Pringle, editor-in-chief at Bloomsbury publishing has acquired City of Girls, a new novel from the author of Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert.
Bloomsbury will publish City of Girls - "an epic stitched across the glittering fabric of a lost New York" - on 4th June 2019, after UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) were acquired from Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency. Riverhead will publish in the US.
Set in New York in the 1940s, the book is described as a coming-of-age novel that is at once "colourful, glittering, moving, witty and wise".
It follows 19-year-old Vivian Morris who, exiled by her despairing parents, comes to New York, suitcase in hand. There her quicksilver talents with a needle quickly land her gainful employement as the seamstress of a disreputable Manhattan revue theatre, turning trash and tinsel into creations for goddesses, and with her new friends she soon finds herself ready to drink "the heady highball of life to the last drop". However, as the blurb describes - "there are hard lessons to be learned, and bitterly regrettable mistakes to be made. Vivian sees that to live the life that she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new."
Pringle enthused: "After over a decade as Liz’s UK editor, you would think I had grown used to how brilliant she is. But nothing could quite prepare me for the glory of City of Girls. It’s just a sublime novel, colourful, glittering, moving, witty and wise. On every page there is delight and surprise. It deserves to be remembered as one of the all-time-great coming-of-age novels, and Vivian as one of the all-time-great twentieth-century heroines. I cannot wait for the world to fall in love with this book as we have."
According to Gilbert, who is due to visit the UK as part of "major" marketing and publicity plans, the novel represented the realisation of two longterm desires - one, "to write a novel about women who have lots of sex, and who like it, and whose lives aren’t destroyed by it. (You might be surprised at how difficult it is to find that storyline in the annals of literature)"; and, two, "to write a novel about New York in the 1940s, which I think of as the most glamorous moment in this city’s history".
"I had the most wonderful time researching the story and being able to—for instance—interview 95-year-old former showgirls about their wild youth and reckless ways," she continued. "I disappeared completely into this book, and I hope that readers will, too. I like to think of this novel as a tray of gin fizzes, which people can knock back and enjoy with abandon."