Some books are infectious. Maybe one of your friends reads a book in two hours and presses it on another friend, who reads it over a single weekend and passes it along to the next person, and quickly that book transmits itself across a social network and boom! It’s an epidemic. But in a good way!

Stephanie Danler’s “Sweetbitter” is that sort of book. (The outbreak originated in our creative department here and spread rapidly throughout the office).

Part of the book’s potency is the subject matter, which involves a young woman who moves to New York and becomes a backwaiter (*which is like a junior-varsity waiter) at an upscale restaurant which may or may not be based on a legendary now-defunct establishment.

The narrator encounters obstacles of all kinds: cockroaches, hangovers, social humiliation, unflattering nicknames. She does a significant amount of drugs. She reveals inside dope about the restaurant industry in generous scoops. She wears a pilled cardigan to a job interview.

This is Danler’s first novel, and boy, what an opening salvo! Why not order a copy and start your own little pandemic?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,