June 2019 Indie Next List
“City of Girls is a champagne cocktail, a tonic for anything that ails you, and the summer read you can’t miss! Vivian Morris, an upper-class, 19-year-old college dropout, finds herself in the chaotic New York City theater world of the 1940s. What ensues is a story full of sex, glamour, and witty one-liners that spans decades. All those who led a heedless youth or wish they had will fall for this book about growing into the person you’ve always wanted to be. Gilbert has written a glittering piece of fiction that subtly delivers wisdom about the nature of human connection and leaves the reader braver, freer, and, at least for the moment, happier.”
— Caroline McGregor, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don't have to be a good girl to be a good person.
"A spellbinding novel about love, freedom, and finding your own happiness." - PopSugar
"Intimate and richly sensual, razzle-dazzle with a hint of danger." -USA Today
"Pairs well with a cocktail...or two." -TheSkimm
"Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are."
Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.
In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves - and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.
Now eighty-nine years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life - and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. "At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time," she muses. "After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is." Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.
About the Author
Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Magic, Eat Pray Love, and several other internationally bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction. Gilbert began her career writing for Harper’s Bazaar, Spin, the New York Times Magazine, and GQ, and was a three-time finalist for the National Magazine Award. Her story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The follow-up memoir Committed became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. Her novel, The Signature of All Things, was named a Best Book of 2013 by the New York Times, O Magazine, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the New Yorker. Gilbert’s short fiction has appeared in Esquire, Story, One Story, and the Paris Review. Her new novel, City of Girls, will be released June 2019.
Praise for City of Girls:
"City of Girls is smart and wise, and if you also want your beach read to speak to your sense of desire, longing, adventure, and coming of age, it certainly will not disappoint." –goop.com
"A fizzy cocktail of a novel…" – The Wall Street Journal
"Sparkling… City of Girls begs big questions about sex, chosen families, and being a woman." – Marie Claire
"When Elizabeth Gilbert set out to write City of Girls, her goal was to tell a story of female promiscuity that didn’t end in death or misfortune—a direct and delicious rebuttal to the tragic, sexist fates of the Emma Bovarys and Anna Kareninas of the canon. The result is a wildly entertaining summertime romp." –Elle
"A combination of lust, scandal, and fun, this is another novel you won't be able to put down." –Good Housekeeping
"Everything is new to Vivian, the city is her oyster, and the characters she meets there are larger-than-life.”– New York Post, Best Beach Reads of 2019
"Elizabeth Gilbert weaves an intricate tale… In a coming-of-age story, the reader is roped into the fanciful summer Vivian spends in the city—and the colorful characters she meets along the way."—Oprahmag.com
"Lively." – Vogue
"Elizabeth Gilbert—the best-selling writer, matron saint of divorced women, modern symbol of follow-your-bliss wisdom, believer in magic, and Oprah approved contemporary guru—has decided to go back in time… Ultimately, Gilbert wants us to question all the judgement society tosses at women like Vivian—and to question the nagging voice inside every girl telling her to be good." –Cosmopolitan
"…a sumptuous period piece with lessons that are relevant to women today.” – Refinery29
"City of Girls embraces. . . the power of a woman breaking from a traditional path, and the wisdom of taking true, two-handed joy in the pleasures that life offers up… City of Girls is an unbeatable beach read, loaded with humor and insight." – Newsday
"City of Girls is more than a love letter to New York—it’s a colorful portrait of what it means to be part of a theater company, or more accurately, to become a ‘theater person’… Gilbert brings the reader into every moment happening just behind the curtain." --Bust Magazine
"It's a spellbinding novel about love, freedom, and finding your own happiness." – PopSugar
"Perfect…a page-turner with heart complete with a potent message of fulfillment and happiness."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Reading City of Girls is pure bliss, thanks to its spirited characters, crackling dialogue, rollicking yet affecting story lines, genuinely erotic scenes, and sexual intelligence, suspense, and incisive truths."—Booklist, starred review
"Delightful…Terrific characters, gorgeous clothing, great one-liners, convincing wartime atmosphere, and excellent descriptions of sex…Don't miss out on her wonderful novels any longer." –Kirkus Reviews, starred reviw
"Gilbert takes us to New York City in the glamorous 1940s, where the sex was plentiful and showgirls just wanted to have fun."—Oprahmag.com
"Gilbert’s fiction—especially as it deals with the unlikely routes women take when the familial mold is shattered—is where it’s really at…City of Girls, about young women in the sparkling and salacious theater world of 1940s New York, looks to be another story about the barriers women face—and catapult—while pleasure-seeking."—Vulture
"The perfect summer read."—Hello Giggles
"[R]ich with memorable characters."—BuzzFeed News
"A new book from [Gilbert] is a major literary event. And this novel is an event—a sexy, scandalous love story set in the 1940s NYC theater world. Can’t wait."—LitHub
"City of Girls is the beautiful, poignant story of what it takes to live the life you truly want."—Bookbub
"A novel exploring themes of female sexuality and promiscuity in the 1940s, written by the author of Eat, Pray, Love? Sign me TF up." –Cosmopolitan.com