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A remarkable memoir about the education of a young woman who, at just twenty-five, becomes the first female literary editor of Esquire magazine—the heart of male culture—and who comes of age through her trailblazing work and close relationship with David Foster Wallace

A naïve, idealistic twenty-two-year-old from the Midwest, Adrienne Miller got her lucky break when she was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine in New York City in the mid-nineties. Even if its sensibilities were manifestly mid-century—the martinis, powerful male egos, and unquestioned authority of kings—GQ still seemed the red-hot center of the literary world. It was there Miller began learning how to survive in a man’s world. Three years later, she forged her own path, becoming the first female literary editor of Esquire, home to the male writers who had defined manhood itself—Hemingway, Mailer, and Carver. Up against this old world, she would soon discover that it wanted nothing to do with a "mere girl."

But this was also a unique moment in history that saw the rise of a new literary movement, as exemplified by McSweeney’s and David Foster Wallace. A decade older than Miller, the mercurial Wallace would become the defining voice of a generation and the fiction writer she would work with most. He was her closest friend, confidant—and antagonist. Their intellectual and artistic exchange grew into a highly charged professional and personal relationship between the most prominent male writer of the era and a young woman finding her voice.

This memoir, a rich, dazzling story of power, ambition and identity, ultimately asks the question: How does a young woman fit into this male culture and at what cost? With great wit and deep intelligence, Miller presents an inspiring and moving portrayal of a young woman’s education in a land of men.

 

An Amazon.com Editors' Pick of the Year

 

A Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction Book of the Year


A Newsday Best Book of the Year

 

The Coast of Akron is the story of the gloriously unorthodox, maladjusted, brilliant Haven clan. In the thirty years since artists Lowell and Jenny met, inspired each other, and separated, Lowell ascended to fame while Jenny mothered their talented and now-grown daughter, Merit. In an attempt to answer questions and heal old wounds, Lowell's dyspeptic lover, Fergus, lures the family and guests back to the hallowed faux-Tudor mansion where it all began. It is at this lavish gathering that long-standing secrets, as well as bonds, will be revealed.