Review: Writers and Lovers
‘Writers & Lovers’ by Lily King.
A review by Megan Robinson.
Writers & Lovers is a novel about love, grief, and striving for your dreams. We follow Casey who is recently out of a devasting love affair and mourning the death of her mother. On top of this, the novel she has been writing for six years isn’t going anywhere, she’s in a mass amount of debt and at thirty-one, feels she is too old to be stuck in the situation that she is. Then she meets Silas and Oscar, two completely different relationships that promise very different futures. And she’s still got to write that book…
Usually, when authors write a fiction book about writing a book, it doesn’t work. It becomes pretentious and they project too much of themselves on their main character even if the main character is nothing like them, making the difference stark. Lily King does it perfectly. Perhaps I am being influenced by the fact that I have been working on a novel since I was fifteen (I am now twenty-two, so seven years), and only now does it seem to be slowly progressing, but I related so much to Casey and her struggles with writing and the whole writing process. Being unable to get the characters to where they need to go, writing a sentence only to delete it, the anxiety of sharing your work with others. On top of all of this, the actual writing of the book isn’t the central focus, it is always there but it gets scattered through the novel perfectly; an example of this being when Casey is biking home from work and finally figure out how to get her characters down the stairs to one of the main events.
I will be completely honest with you; this book was another instance of Waterstones have a ‘buy one get one half off’ offer that I couldn’t refuse. When I began reading the book I didn’t think it was going to be for me, King has such a unique writing style that I didn’t initially gel with. However, there was one particular line that hooked me emotionally that I knew I would finish this book; ‘I’m thirty-one now, and my mother is dead.’ Something about this sentence being so blunt and matter of fact hit me deep. As the book continues there are also extreme similarities between Casey’s mother and my own that made this book almost like a personal journey of grief for me even though my mother isn’t dead.
Something I really enjoyed was seeing the development of Oscar and Casey’s relationship. Without trying to spoil the novel, Oscar was the suitor I was initially rooting for in the Oscar-Casey-Silas love triangle. He seemed like he could not only take care of her the way she needed but also be a great writing mentor due to the fact he is a semi-successful published author himself (also his two sons were adorable and absolutely adored Casey.) However, as their relationship develops and Oscar reveals more about himself, I began to question my decision. (If you read this tell me who you rooted for.)
Also, the imagery of the geese throughout. At first, I was so confused why the geese were given such a huge description at the beginning of the book and why the opening pages of the novel have geese illustrations. However, by the end the geese are comforting and such a huge part of Casey’s life that seeing the final pages of the book have the illustrations of the geese again was just so satisfying and perfect.
The only complaint I have about King’s novel is that the ending seemed a tad rushed, it didn’t have the ‘pizzazz’ that it desperately needed. Everything just seems to resolve itself, and
* MAJOR SPOILER * Casey’s book gets published too fast and too easily. Perhaps this is a personal complaint from me, as I am someone who wants to work within publishing and know how long it takes for publishers to send an offer on books. I feel like the ending needed just a little more build-up and a bigger payoff.
Overall, if you are going to ever read a fiction book about writing a book, it should definitely be this one. Also, if you are sick of exclusively reading romances about people in their early twenties and teens, this book is a refreshing breath of fresh air. Now if you will excuse me, I need to tell my mother I love her, write more of my novel and watch the geese swim on the local pond.
Review by Megan.