cover image A Career in Books: A Novel About Friends, Money, and the Occasional Duck Bun

A Career in Books: A Novel About Friends, Money, and the Occasional Duck Bun

Kate Gavino. Plume, $20 (240p) ISBN 978-0-593-18548-3

With quill-sharp narration and spot-on details, this delightful graphic novel from Gavino (Last Night’s Reading) depicts New York City publishing through the eyes of three Asian American NYU grads who share an apartment. Nina Nakamura, the most career-driven of the group, takes an assistant job at a large house. Silvia Bautista, an aspiring novelist, works for an indie press supported by the publisher’s “seemingly endless trust fund.” Shirin Yap is hired at an academic press, possibly because the editor hoped she’d be able to speak Cantonese with their Hong Kong–based printer (Shirin is Filipina). Besides artistic fulfillment, their goal is to “make that Anthropologie money... non-sale section Anthro money!” Their neighbor, 92-year-old Veronica Vo, turns out to be a Booker Prize winner whose subsequent books about the domestic lives of Asian American women have fallen out-of-print. Nina leads a charge to reissue Veronica’s work—success for Veronica will, of course, mean hope for their own ambitions, while righting one small historical wrong. Gavino peppers her savvy line drawings with price tags (“Edith Wharton leather-bound edition, $279”), and applies actual numbers to her characters’ salaries and calculations. Specificity is the fire that fuels this witty social satire, in which fairness doesn’t always triumph, but friendship does. Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency (Aug.)