Synopses & Reviews
A novel about two friends learning the difference between getting older and growing up.
Bev Tunney and Amy Schein have been best friends for years; now, at thirty, they're at a crossroads. Bev is a Midwestern striver still mourning a years-old romantic catastrophe. Amy is an East Coast princess whose luck and charm have too long allowed her to cruise through life. Bev is stuck in circumstances that would have barely passed for bohemian in her mid-twenties: temping, living with roommates, drowning in student-loan debt. Amy is still riding the tailwinds of her early success, but her habit of burning bridges is finally catching up to her. And now Bev is pregnant.
As Bev and Amy are dragged, kicking and screaming, into real adulthood, they have to face the possibility that growing up might mean growing apart.
Friendship, Emily Gould's debut novel, traces the evolution of a friendship with humor and wry sympathy. Gould examines the relationship between two women who want to help each other but sometimes can't help themselves; who want to make good decisions but sometimes fall prey to their own worst impulses; whose generous intentions are sometimes overwhelmed by petty concerns.
This is a novel about the way we speak and live today; about the ways we disappoint and betray one another. At once a meditation on the modern meaning of maturity and a timeless portrait of the underexamined bond that exists between friends, this exacting and truthful novel is a revelation.
"Gould's debut novel follows Bev and Amy as they transition into their 30s and a kind of stilted adulthood. The book opens with Bev on her way to an interview at a temp agency she has dropped out of grad school before completing her M.F.A. and is stuck in the kind of low-rent existence typical of recent grads. As the novel progresses, Bev finds out she's pregnant following a one-night stand; meanwhile Amy's life, which has been insufferably charmed to this point, likewise starts to fall apart. The girls are forced to reevaluate their places in the world and their friendship. Gould's novel is admirably, readably realistic she knows these girls and the world they live in (including the omnipresence of technology and the way that it pervades relationships). In places, however, the accuracy of Gould's prose takes away from the book's ambition and reach. The plot is least successful when it strives for revelatory connections, as when Sally, a wealthy wife struggling to conceive, is slid conveniently into the narrative like a lucky puzzle piece. Still, Gould nails the complex blend of love, loyalty, and resentment that binds female friends. It is worth reading for the richness of its details (at one point, Amy is overwhelmed by the desire to put an engaged coworker's wedding ring in her mouth), and it offers new insight into the experience of young women. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Two young women try to create the glamorous lives they've imagined for themselves while talking on Gchat from their desks at their less-than-ideal jobs. Bev left her cool-sounding but dispiriting entry-level position at a Manhattan publishing house to follow her boyfriend to the Midwest. Bad move. Now she's back in New York, single again, and temping. Amy was once famous for her work at a hot website-or maybe she was just notorious: ‘[N]ow that she was neither, it mattered less which one it had been.' She's been working for three years at Yidster, ‘the third-most-popular online destination for cultural coverage with a modern Jewish angle,' but is basically just floating through life on a diet of clicks and tweets, hoping her boyfriend will move in with her so she'll be able to keep paying the rent on her lovely brownstone apartment in Brooklyn. When Bev gets pregnant on a hilariously dreadful first date, the women are forced to confront their differing dreams and priorities. Plot takes a back seat to Gould's razor-sharp humor and observations about life in New York among a class of young people who know more about how they'd like to live than how to pay for it. It's also a delight to read a novel that places female friendship at its center; we watch Bev and Amy manage their fluctuating feelings of love, jealousy and sometimes disdain for each other. ‘It seems improbable that this hasn't happened to us before,' Amy says when she learns that Bev is pregnant. ‘Us?', Bev replies. ‘Are you going to start saying ‘we're pregnant?' . . . We're not a couple, Amy.' They're not, but they are, and Gould brilliantly charts their ups and downs.” Kirkus, (starred review)
“There is a sentimental delight in reading Friendship and its roller coaster ride of urban highs and lows....In the end, Gould draws a vivid and convincing portrait of a friendship — in all of its human misunderstandings, disappointments, and brokenness....It is no small feat to animate and chart the emotional fluctuations and subtle contours of female friendships on the page....[Gould] illuminate[s] what it means to grow up together and then sometimes apart.” S. Kirk Walsh, The Virginia Quarterly Review
“A savvy first novel that, in piercing prose, zeroes in on modern ennui and the catalysts that force even the most apathetic out of their complacency.” Booklist
“A sharp, sad, unforgiving (in a great way) and remarkably funny exploration of thirty-something female friendship.” Nerve
“I read Friendship with great pleasure. Emily Gould re-creates with wit and insight the New York I know: a place full of fame and money that's not yours, where friends become family and lovers become ex-lovers, and the big questions about your life stay unanswered, and unanswerable, for a long time.” Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding
“Truth-teller Emily Gould hurls her heart and her mind into this hilarious, bittersweet tale of the urgent, everyday need for connection between women.” Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins
“Friendship is a moving, focused, highly readable, very funny novel, told with a calming amount of perspective by a trustworthy, precise voice. It is intimate and insightful regarding two decades of life (early twenties to middle age), and on the topics of endurance (emotional, financial), relationships (work, platonic, romantic — human), and jobs (temp, Internet, freelance art) in New York City.” Tao Lin, author of Taipei
About the Author
Emily Gould is the author of And the Heart Says Whatever and the co-owner, with Ruth Curry, of a feminist publishing startup, Emily Books, which sells new and backlist titles via a subscription model. She has written extensively for many publications, including The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, MITs Technology Review, Poetry, the London Review of Books, n+1, The Guardian, The Economist, Slate, and Jezebel, and was an editor at Gawker in 2008. She is best known as a blogger, having maintained a popular online presence since 2005 at www.emilymagazine.com. She lives in New York.