At a certain age, most people put aside their lifelong dreams. Not longtime Pelham resident Karen Dukess, who has written her debut novel, "The Last Book Party," published and released yesterday, July 9th, by Henry Holt and Co.
The novel follows a young female protagonist, Eve Rosen, 25, as she seeks to make her way through the publishing industry during the 1980s. Working as a low level literary assistant and eager to pursue her own ambitions, Eve soon finds herself tangled up with the exclusive literary elites that vacation over summers in the quiet town of Truro, Cape Cod. As Eve gets more and more entwined into the world shes always dreamed of being a part of, she discovers what really lies beneath the surface.
Setting the novel in Cape Cod, Karen Dukess uses her longtime personal experiences to create a rich and timeless coming of age story that depicts the struggles of finding oneself in early adulthood.
"The Last Book Party" started out as a short memoir about a stormy beach day in Cape Cod when Karen was in her 20s. As she kept writing, the story turned fictional and the character of Eve Rosen emerged with her own unique voice. Years later, Karen is releasing her first novel, and that one true scene still remains.
“I’ve always wanted to write a novel and while it was frustrating to have that unfulfilled dream for so long, it’s pretty sweet to do something like this at my stage in life,” said Ms. Dukess.
Before her first novel, Karen already had a long and experienced career in writing. After graduating Brown University with an undergraduate degree in Russian studies and studying journalism at Columbia University Graduate School, she worked for many years as a journalist in Florida and later in Russia during the 90s. Since then she has worked for UNICEF and most recently as a speechwriter on gender equality for the United Nations Development Programme.
"The Last Book Party" is her first large fictional piece to be published and it has already been received extremely well. Thus far, it has been named the following:
A July 2019 Indie Next List Great Read
One of Parade's Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2019
An Amazon best book of July
Summer 2019 B&N Discover Great New Writers Selection
An O Magazine Best Beach Read of 2019
A New York Post Best Beach Read of 2019
Karen did a reading and book signing of "The Last Book Party" at the Town of Pelham Library on Tuesday, July 9 and will do the same at the Rye Library at 7 pm on Thursday, July 11.