Girls They Write Songs About
by Carlene Bauer
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Pub Date 21 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2022
A New Yorker Best Book of the Year
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
A Must-Read at People, Entertainment Weekly, Nylon, and LitHub
“Stylish, reckless . . . Glittering.” —Molly Young, The New York Times
A power ballad to female friendship, Girls They Write Songs About is a thrumming, searching novel about the bonds that shape us more than any love affair.
We moved to New York to want undisturbed and unchecked. And what did we want?
New York, 1997. As the city’s gritty edges are being smoothed into something safer and shinier, two aspiring writers meet at a music magazine. Rose—brash and self-possessed—is a staff writer. Charlotte—hesitant, bookish—is an editor. First wary, then slowly admiring, they recognize in each other an insatiable and previously unmatched ambition. Soon they’re inseparable, falling into the kind of friendship that makes every day an adventure, and makes you believe that you will, of course, achieve extraordinary things.
Together, Charlotte and Rose find love and lose it; they hit their strides and stumble; they make choices and live past them. They say to each other, “Don’t ever leave me.” It’s their favorite joke, but they know that they could never say a truer thing. But then the steady beats of their sisterhood fall out of sync. They have seen each other through so much—marriage, motherhood, divorce, career glories and catastrophes, a million small but necessary choices. What will it mean if they have to give up dreaming together? That the friendship that once made them sing out now shuts them down? And even if they can reconcile themselves to the lives they’ve chosen, can they make peace with the ones they didn’t?
As smart and comic as it is gloriously exuberant, Carlene Bauer’s Girls They Write Songs About takes a timeless story and turns it into a pulsing, wrecking, clear-eyed tale of two women reckoning with the loss of the friendship that helped define them, and the countless ways all the women they’ve known have made them who they are.
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