From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don't have to be a good girl to be a good person.
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by Oprah.com, Real Simple, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan,GoodReads, PureWow, Vulture, The Millions and more.
"Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are."
Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.
In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves - and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.
Now eighty-nine years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life - and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. "At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time," she muses. "After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is." Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.
Praise for City of Girls:
"Perfect…a page-turner with heart complete with a potent message of fulfillment and happiness."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Reading City of Girls is pure bliss, thanks to its spirited characters, crackling dialogue, rollicking yet affecting story lines, genuinely erotic scenes, and sexual intelligence, suspense, and incisive truths."—Booklist, starred review
"Delightful…Terrific characters, gorgeous clothing, great one-liners, convincing wartime atmosphere, and excellent descriptions of sex…Don't miss out on her wonderful novels any longer." –Kirkus Reviews, starred reviw
"Gilbert takes us to New York City in the glamorous 1940s, where the sex was plentiful and showgirls just wanted to have fun."—Oprahmag.com
"Gilbert’s fiction—especially as it deals with the unlikely routes women take when the familial mold is shattered—is where it’s really at…City of Girls, about young women in the sparkling and salacious theater world of 1940s New York, looks to be another story about the barriers women face—and catapult—while pleasure-seeking."—Vulture
"The perfect summer read."—Hello Giggles
"[R]ich with memorable characters."—BuzzFeed News
"A new book from [Gilbert] is a major literary event. And this novel is an event—a sexy, scandalous love story set in the 1940s NYC theater world. Can’t wait."—LitHub
"City of Girls is the beautiful, poignant story of what it takes to live the life you truly want."—Bookbub
"A novel exploring themes of female sexuality and promiscuity in the 1940s, written by the author of Eat, Pray, Love? Sign me TF up." –Cosmopolitan.com