cover image Three-Martini Lunch

Three-Martini Lunch

Suzanne Rindell. Putnam, $27 (512p) ISBN 978-0-399-16548-1

In Rindell's second novel (after The Other Typist), the lives of three young people intersect over literature and ambition during the height of the beatnik era in Greenwich Village. Cliff Nelson, the son of a powerful New York editor, wants to be a famous writer but spends less time writing than emulating Hemingway's drinking. Eden Katz, a transplant from Indiana who remakes herself in the style of Holly Golightly, has her sights set on being an editor at a big New York publishing house. After Eden is hired as a secretary to Cliff's father, she and Cliff secretly elope. Meanwhile, the literary ambitions of Miles Tillman, a quiet, gay, black Columbia graduate from Harlem, are repeatedly tested by personal and societal road blocks. After Miles is attacked at a party hosted by Cliff and Eden, he heads to San Francisco, where he finds his father's WWII journal. The journal%E2%80%94along with his relationship with the man who helped him find it%E2%80%94provides Miles with plenty of fodder for writing, but he becomes inexorably tangled in Cliff and Eden's struggles for literary success. With its vivid historical setting and the narrators' distinct voices, this ambitious novel is both an homage to the beatnik generation and its literature, as well as an evocative story of the price one pays for going after one's dreams. Agent: Emily Forland, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (Apr.)