“A master psychological portraitist” (Publishers Weekly), novelist Lily King brings her deft and graceful characterization to stories that illuminate the inner workings of life’s most complicated relationships. Since the publication of her debut novel, The Pleasing Hour, which won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and was a New York Times Notable Book and an alternate for the PEN/Hemingway Award, she has been praised for her unsentimental style and piercing insight. But it was her fourth novel that brought true breakout success.
Euphoria is set in 1930s Papua New Guinea and is loosely based on the life of the anthropologist Margaret Mead and her second and third husbands. A cover review in The New York Times Book Review called it “a taut, witty, fiercely intelligent tale of competing egos and desires in a landscape of exotic menace—a love triangle in extremis…The steam the book emits is as much intellectual as erotic.”
Euphoria won the Kirkus Award for Fiction and the New England Book Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. It was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by The New York Times Book Review and was included in TIME’s Top 10 Fiction Books of 2014 and the Amazon Best Books of 2014. It is in development as a limited series by the BBC.
“There are some novels that take you by the hand with their lovely prose alone; there are those that pull you in with sensual renderings of time and place and a compelling story; and there are still others that seduce you solely with their subject matter. But it is a rare novel indeed that does all of the above at once and with complete artistic mastery. Yet this is precisely what Lily King has done in her stunningly passionate and gorgeously written Euphoria. It is simply one of the finest novels I’ve read in years, and it puts Lily King firmly in the top rank of our most accomplished novelists.”
—Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog
King’s latest novel is the New York Times bestselling Writers & Lovers, an unforgettable portrait of the artist as a young woman that is “winning… infused with heart and soul and wit and wisdom” (NPR). Blindsided by her mother’s sudden death and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody is thirty-one in the summer of 1997 and still clutching on to something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life as a novelist. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, Casey’s drive to fulfill her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink.
“Wonderful, witty, heartfelt,” said The Washington Post, “a funny novel about grief, and, worse, it’s dangerously romantic, bold enough and fearless enough to imagine the possibility of unbounded happiness.” Writers & Lovers was named a Most Anticipated Book and spotlighted by over a dozen publications, including Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, Lit Hub, People, Vogue, and Marie Claire. Hitting The New York Times bestsellers list just a week after publication, Writers & Lovers was a pick for both The New York Times Book Review’s Group Text and Jenna Bush Hager’s Read With Jenna book club. Writers & Lovers will be adapted for the screen, marking the directorial debut for actress Toni Collette who will helm the project.
This mix of prizes and plaudits has been a constant in her career, starting with her earliest works. Her debut The Pleasing Hour is a coming-of-age story centered on an American au pair in Europe whose coming-of-age defies usual conceptions of naïveté and experience. GraceAnne A. DeCandido wrote in Booklist that “with longing and sweetness, this subtle and gorgeously crafted novel takes us into a tangle of family affections.” In her second novel, The English Teacher, King returns to the complexities of family life. Following the story of a mother and son’s vital bond, the book raises questions about notions of intimacy, honesty, loyalty, family, and the real meaning of home. The English Teacher was a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year, a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year, and the winner of the Maine Fiction Award.
A New York Times Editor’s Choice, Father of the Rain spans three decades in a riveting psychological portrait of a wildly charismatic patriarch as seen through the eyes of his daughter. A family drama set in an upper-middle-class East Coast suburb, Father of the Rain was a Publishers Weekly Best Novel of the Year and winner of the 2010 New England Book Award for Fiction and the Maine Fiction Award. Vanity Fair praised Father of the Rain as “spellbinding… King brilliantly captures the gravitational pull of the past and the way it can eclipse the promise of the present.”
King grew up in Massachusetts and received her BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her MA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. She has taught English and Creative Writing at universities and high schools in the US and abroad. She is the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship and a Whiting Writer’s Award. Her short fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue, The Los Angeles Review of Books, One Story, The Harvard Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and several anthologies. Her novels have been published in 20 languages. King is at work on a book of short stories, Five Tuesdays in Winter. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Portland, Maine.here.