Manhattan can be a lonely place for fresh-faced arrivals, and Ohio-born Eve Weldon does struggle to make new friends after moving to the big city, but at least her new roommate (of sorts) is a lively conversationalist. He just happens to be dead. Donald is a sardonic Beat-era writer who passed suddenly, well before his time. Donald may not have known the success of his contemporaries, but he proves, to Eve, to be an invaluable source of literary lore. With her collection of vintage outfits and love of mid-century writers, Eve is fascinated by the era. It turns out that Eve’s mother Penelope, who also died young, lived for a time in the Village in the 1960s, before settling for a safe, dull life with Eve’s father Gin. In a way, Eve seems bent on living the free-spirited life her mother never had. She lucks into a full-time job writing scripts for Smell the Coffee, a Good Morning America–style morning show hosted by affable ex-jock Hap McCutcheon and ice queen Bliss Jones. The gig is far from glamorous, though, and her position in the staff pecking order is precarious. But during one of her pre-interviews, she manages to charm Matthias Klieg, a legendary and reclusive German fashion designer. The much older man takes what appears to be a paternal interest in Eve, and she discovers that he and Donald were close friends who fell in love with the same woman. Donald remains unaware of Eve’s connection with Klieg and cajoles her into helping him finish his work by dictating his experimental stories to her in the hopes that she can finally get him published. Donald further complicates Eve’s life by making it impossible for her to bring any friends or lovers back to her place, setting both of them up for an inevitable confrontation. With its light, matter-of-fact depiction of a supernatural relationship, Graham’s debut is lots of fun to read, even during those moments when Eve’s wide-eyed innocence borders on cloying.
Delightful coming-of-age story with a sweet reverence for the art and romance of old Gotham.