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Extended Audio Sample Sweetbitter: A Novel, by Stephanie Danler Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephanie Danler Narrator: Alex McKenn Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A lush, raw, thrilling novel of the senses about a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, alluring world of a famous downtown New York restaurant.

“Let’s say I was born when I came over the George Washington Bridge…” This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the twenty-two-year-old at the heart of this stunning first novel. Shot from a mundane, provincial past, she’s come to New York to look for a life she can’t define, except as a burning drive to become someone, to belong somewhere. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned Union Square restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life of a “backwaiter,” on duty and off. Her appetites—for food, wine, knowledge, and every kind of experience—are awakened. And she’s pulled into the magnetic thrall of two other servers—a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman she latches onto with an orphan’s ardor. These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess’s hardest lesson of all. Sweetbitter is a story of discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It’s rare that a book conveys with such unerring precision what it’s like to be young.”

    Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner Award–winning author

  • "Sweetbitter…dresses the bones of a classic coming-of-age story with the lusty flesh and blood of a bawdy early twenty-first-century picaresque.”


  • “Danler’s sexy, astute debut is really a love story about the addictive pull of restaurant life…and nailed it.”


  • “Danler’s ravishing debut is like inhabiting the heady after-midnight hours of a city drunk on its own charms.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “A raw, shucked, pungent, wild love story.”

    Marie Claire

  • “An unpretentious, truth-dealing novel…about hunger of every variety.”

    New York Times

  • “A total immersion in what it’s like to be young and hungry.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Lush and precise writing about food, drugs, and dives.”

    New York magazine

  • “Food and feeling are natural partners; this… is a feast of both. Like her sexual awakening, Tess’s culinary enlightenment is vivid and exquisite.”


  • “Danler…is unafraid to give us a protagonist whose drive can be monstrous.”


  • “Danler evokes Tess’ voice—intimate, confiding, wonderstruck, depressed—with deft skill. This novel is a treat.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Narrator Alex McKenna’s husky voice is the perfect match for this coming-of-age story…McKenna’s performance is infused with a magical mix of youth and naïveté, tempered by a toughness earned after a year in the city…McKenna projects a full range of nuanced emotions, augmenting the intimacy of Tess’ journey to self-discovery and her survival in the often brutal restaurant world. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • A May 2016 LibraryReads Pick
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for May 2016
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A People Pick of the Week
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Time Magazine Pick for the Best Books of 2016 So Far
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
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