Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job when she jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Soon, however, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.
With snappy dialog, name-dropping, and an author’s note suggesting insider experience, the story of Eve’s self-doubt and willingness to do almost anything to become a writer in a male-dominated world has a #MeToo movement currency ... Part coming of age, part gossipy peek into the enclave of writers, editors, poets, and artists who annually escaped the heat of Boston and New York to talk, drink, and work on Cape Cod, this seminostalgic debut is the ideal summer read for book people.
A lightweight love story with some lessons learned and a glimpse of the artist as a young woman, it’s ideal for a trip to the beach or a weekend getaway ... The novel is genuine, not pretending to be anything other than the slightly nostalgic coming-of-age story about another time, both in publishing and in youth, that it is ... The dialogue can be a bit clunky and a side story...doesn’t do much, but Dukess moves her main story along. You probably know where it is headed, but the lovingly created mood, particularly in Truro and its surroundings, makes it easy to keep turning the pages.
For a novel concerned with class politics, marital infidelity and office predations, The Last Book Party is completely illiterate regarding the dynamics of power and privilege ... [Eve] is a narrator blissfully exempt from conflict, neurosis and anxiety ... the politics of the Cape’s seasonal 'wash ashores' and their year-round neighbors in The Last Book Party are gratingly insensitive. Eve laments her well-to-do family’s ordinariness, bemoaning their unpretentious taste and subdued cocktail parties ... Somewhere, Daisy Buchanan lifts a champagne flute in salutation ... Dukess’s novel is a postcard from another era, blind to itself and the world, but the fatal mistake is the assumption that it would be anything but irritating in this one.