Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Five Tuesdays in Winter

by Lily King

By the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Writers & Lovers and Euphoria comes a masterful new collection of short stories

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 256
  • Publication Date November 01, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5949-6
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 240
  • Publication Date November 09, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5876-5
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date November 09, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5877-2
  • US List Price $27.00

Five Tuesdays in Winter moved me, inspired me, thrilled me. It filled up every chamber of my heart. I loved this book.”—Ann Patchett

Lily King, one of the most “brilliant” (New York Times Book Review), “wildly talented” (Chicago Tribune), and treasured authors of contemporary fiction, returns after her recent bestselling novels with Five Tuesdays in Winter, her first book of short fiction.

Told in the intimate voices of complex, endearing characters, Five Tuesdays in Winter intriguingly subverts expectations as it explores desire, loss, jolting violence, and the inexorable tug toward love at all costs. A reclusive bookseller begins to feel the discomfort of love again. Two college roommates have a devastating middle-aged reunion. A proud old man rages powerlessly in his granddaughter’s hospital room. A writer receives a visit from all the men who have tried to suppress her voice.

Romantic, hopeful, brutally raw, and unsparingly honest, this wide-ranging collection of ten selected stories by one of our most accomplished chroniclers of the human heart is an exciting addition to Lily King’s oeuvre of acclaimed fiction.

Tags Literary

Praise for Five Tuesdays in Winter:

Finalist for the Story Prize
A Most Anticipated Book of Fall by Vogue, TIME, EsquirePeople, the Washington Post, and Lit Hub
A November Indie Next Pick
Included in Amazon’s Top Ten for November
One of Entertainment Weekly’s “Must Read Books of November”
One of Good Morning America’s “15 Books to Curl Up With This November”
A Best Book the Year at NPR and Kirkus

“In our time of anxiety and isolation, King writes stories to curl up in, by which I mean they afford us something rarely celebrated in literature: comfort.“—New York Times Book Review

“Fierce, funny, tender stories that demonstrate both range and emotional heft… All of them are stunners.”—Boston Globe

“King returns to the page with a collection of short stories that continue to prove her prowess in all things love and human connection.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Lily King isn’t afraid of big emotional subjects: desire and grief, longing and love, growth and self-acceptance. But she eschews high drama for the immersive quiet of the everyday… Here we inhabit the worlds of authors and mothers, children and friends; we experience their lives in clear, graceful prose that swells with generous possibility. This is a book for writers and lovers, a book about storytelling itself, a book for all of us.”—Washington Post

“Like her acclaimed books Writers & Lovers and Euphoria, King’s latest finds characters longing for love and wrestling with change.”—Time

“It is the exquisite attention with which King articulates all that roils inside us that secures her place in the contemporary canon.”—Financial Times

“Intimate and revealing, this is an unflinchingly honest and insightful collection.”—The Observer

“Raw yet hopeful.”—Irish Times

“The endearing, vulnerable characters in bestselling novelist Lily King’s ten clever, charming short stories are facing up to life’s dramas and demands — broken hearts, shattered illusions, troubled parents or children — with a grace that belies the damaging emotional fallout.”—Daily Mail (UK)

“The award-winning author of Euphoria and four other novels, speaks volumes in short form. Her new collection, Five Tuesdays in Winter, is as compelling and accomplished as anything you’re likely to read in the genre . . . Story for story, this collection is simply a knockout.”—Portland Press Herald

“Wonderfully absorbing… All 10 of these tales build gratifyingly to moments of epiphany that never feel unearned… Long form or short, this is a writer who has mastered the art of conveying depths of human feeling in one beautiful sentence after another.”—NPR

“Breathlessly beautiful.”—Zibby Owens, Good Morning America

“The acclaimed author of Writers & Lovers returns with ten shimmering stories, each one a gemlike exploration of love, loss, and grief… Each masterful story reminds us that King is one of our finest cartographers of the human heart.”—Esquire

“Lily King writes about love better than anybody.”—Jenna Bush Hager, Best Books to Read in November

“These stories crackle and shine, and King is a master of the thumbnail portrait: she can create a fully realized life in a single paragraph and then alter it in breathtaking ways. This is a must for fans of the short story.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“These are stories of outsiders finding their people, of new perspectives, and they place King—already one of our most poignant and moving contemporary novelists—among Lorrie Moore, Alice Munro, and Mary Gaitskill as one of our great short-story writers as well.” —Vogue, “Best Books to Read This Fall”

“A masterful, enchanting collection of stories illuminating the spectrum of human love—the platonic, the unrequited, the forbidden and the unconditional.” —People

“King’s collection continually breaks through stereotypes, defying expectation and not allowing the reader to pinpoint anything typical about her short stories… King honors how human life is never what we think it is, always changing and morphing. By allowing characters their full range of pain, vulnerability, and happiness, Five Tuesdays in Winter drops readers into imperfect lives, evoking awe and anger and admiration and futility, reminding us how it feels to be human.”—Ploughshares

“King’s observations are both sharp and generous. Five Tuesdays in Winter is a collection worth dipping into again and again.”—Bookpage

“[A] dazzling new collection . . . Though the protagonists range from a young girl to a middle-aged gay man to a gruff nonagenarian grandfather, the stories share certain characteristics; King is a master at conveying through subtle description the small, painful, bumbling moments of life and the awkwardness of human interactions . . . A series of beautifully written character studies brimming with insight into the human condition.” —Library Journal, starred review

“King can make you fall in love with a character fast, especially the smart, vulnerable, often painfully self-conscious adolescent protagonists featured in several of the 10 stories collected here…Full of insights and pleasures.” —Kirkus, starred review

“King follows five critically acclaimed novels, most recently Euphoria and Writers & Lovers, with her first collection of short stories. Ann Patchett raved that the new offering ‘moved me, inspired me, thrilled me. It filled up every chamber of my heart. I loved this book.’”—The Millions (“Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2021 Book Preview”)

Praise for Writers & Lovers:

A New York Times Notable Book
One of the Washington Post’s 10 Best Books of 2020
Named one of the Top 10 Books of 2020 on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Maureen Corrigan
A Kirkus Best Fiction Book of 2020
Selected for Amazon’s Best Literature and Fiction of 2020
A New York Times Best Seller
A New York Times Book Review Group Text Selection
A #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today
A Belletrist Book Club April Selection by Emma Roberts
An Indie Next Pick
Featured in Best of 2020 lists by the Washington Post, Kirkus, Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, the Guardian, Marie Claire, Vulture, LitHub, People, and the Amazon Book Review

“A comic and compassionate novel… It shares with [Euphoria] a fascination with the difficulty of defining the worth of one’s life when the familiar markers of adult achievement are slow to materialize. With wit and what reads like deep insider wisdom, Ms. King captures the chronic low-level panic of taking a leap into the artsy unknown and finding yourself adrift, without land or rescue in sight.”—Maureen Corrigan, Wall Street Journal

“I loved this book not just from the first chapter or the first page but from the first paragraph… The voice is just so honest and riveting and insightful about creativity and life.”–Curtis Sittenfeld, London Evening Standard

“Delightful… An unmistakable broadside against fiction’s love affair with macho strivers, even — or especially — when layers of lyricism and tenderness coat their machismo. The emotional force of Writers & Lovers is considerable.”—New York Times Book Review

“Romance isn’t the point for Casey. Love is the gravy; words are the filet. Finding a way to build a life around work she loves, finding a way to support herself as a writer — this is the line connecting all three corners of the love triangle at the heart of this novel.”—New York Times Book Review, Group Text Book Club

Writers & Lovers made me happy. Even as the narrator grieves the loss of her mother and struggles to make art and keep a roof over her head, the novel is suffused with hopefulness and kindness. Lily King writes with a great generosity of spirit.”—Ann Patchett

Writers & Lovers is exactly the book we need now. Witty and heartfelt… I could not stop reading.”—Judy Blume

“This smooth, deliberate chronicle of creation keeps the men in their place and Casey firmly rooted at the center of her own story. Instead of casting her as a woman torn between archetypes of male creativity, Writers & Lovers portrays her as a woman in thrall to her own generative processes, a devotee to the art of (her own) attention.”—Los Angeles Times

“Among the elements that make Writers & Lovers so winning are the perfectly calibrated little details, convincing conversations, and droll wit… Writers & Lovers is a book about passion, desire, grief, determination, and finding one’s way. It’s also about craving love, family, and success… generously infused with heart and soul and wit and wisdom.”—NPR

Writers & Lovers is a funny novel about grief, and, worse, it’s dangerously romantic, bold enough and fearless enough to imagine the possibility of unbounded happiness.”—Washington Post

“King captures the agita of an early-life crisis and the eccentricities of a writer’s life, spiking the narrative with wit, sumptuous imagery and hilarious skewerings of literary elitism.”—People

“King has created a woman on the cusp of personal fulfillment and strong enough to stand on her own, someone akin to Sally Rooney’s Frances in Conversations with Friends… But King also situates Casey inside a variation of the which-lover-will-she-choose framework of, say, Nancy Meyers’s film Something’s Gotta Give… The novel is a meditation on trying itself: to stay alive, to love, to care. That point feels so fresh, so powerfully diametrically opposed to the readily available cynicism we’ve been feasting on… King wants us to keep trying, through whatever means necessary, to beat the odds.”—Boston Globe

“A poignant and heartfelt novel about the effects of grief and the paths people take to get through life. I couldn’t put the book down.”—Seattle Times

“A down-to-earth saga of an extremely bright and likable single woman wrestling with sexual desires, emotional dreads… An engaging portrait of a woman confronting modern hardships.”—Associated Press

“King has portrayed effectively and compassionately with well-crafted prose, evocative descriptions, and spot-on dialogue.”—New York Journal of Books

“Funny and romantic and hard to put down, full of well-observed details of restaurant culture and writer’s workshops. It’s hard to imagine a reader who wouldn’t root for Casey.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“A knowing look at the pursuit of a life in the arts, with a protagonist you’ll root for.”—Marie Claire

“King is one of those rare writers who can entwine sadness, hilarity and burning fury in the briefest of moments.”—BookPage

“An extraordinary novel… King beautifully documents every aspect of Casey’s character. Casey’s insights into the world of writing are fascinating and often humorous… The prose [is] linguistically sophisticated, but clean and uncluttered.”—Midwest Book Review

“This novel will become a defining classic for struggling young writers.”–Vulture

“A breath of fresh air, with characters that leap off the page.”—Amazon Book Review

“King’s gift is to suspend the reader, to make the wait for resolution fascinating.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Masterful… You can’t put it down, and you’ll feel larger and more connected once you finish it. Plus, it’s funny as hell.”—Dead Darlings

“King leaves no barrier between readers and smart, genuine, cynical, and funny Casey. A closely observed tale of finding oneself, and one’s voice, while working through grief.”—Booklist (starred)

“[A] charmingly written coming of age story.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Intimate and vulnerable… Lily King’s novel follows a deeply relatable protagonist navigating a whole menu of crises surrounded by a cast of genuine, vivid characters… The book occupies a small space, but packs it to the brim with humanity.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Elegant, droll… This meditation on the passing of youth is touching and ruefully funny.”—Publishers Weekly

Reading Group Guide

Guide by Kathe McCormick-Evans

1. Though “Creature” takes place over the course of only two weeks, it reads as a coming-of-age story. How do we see fourteen-year-old Carol—who seems by turns precocious and heartbreakingly innocent—move out of her childhood, finally and irrevocably, in this story? What does she gain, and lose, during her time as a babysitter for the Pikes? How does writing play into her journey and maturation?

2. Both Mitchell in “Five Tuesdays in Winter” and Oda in “North Sea” are single parents struggling to connect with twelve-year-old daughters. Discuss King’s depiction of parental love, and of preteen girlhood. How do Mitchell and Oda each navigate the challenge of parenting? How do Paula and Hanne’s actions reflect how they feel, even when words might not?

3. In “When in the Dordogne,” the main character sees his familiar surroundings from a new perspective when he plays basketball with Grant and Ed on the town court: “I looked around at my town: the gazebo, the swings and jungle gym, the baseball diamond . . . I’d never seen it from right here” (p. 87). How is this representative of other ways that unlikely but tender caregivers Grant and Ed help him see his life from a new vantage?

4. In “North Sea,” Oda reflects: “Adults hid their pain, their fears, their failure, but adolescents hid their happiness, as if to reveal it would risk its loss” (p. 113). Do you think this is true? Why?

5. Talk about the end of “North Sea.” What did you make of this scene? Is it an act of cruelty? Is it the only way Hanne can express her own need to be cared for? Both?

6. Do you imagine Hanne and Oda’s relationship will have changed when they return home from their vacation? Will this experience bring them the returned closeness Oda longs for

7. In “Timeline,” Lucy describes William’s perspective on his open marriage: “they let each other be exactly who they were in any given minute . . . as if after sixty seconds you became someone else” (p. 133). Several other stories in this book explore the idea of identity and its capacity to change—or not change—over time. How do you experience your own identity? Do you feel you have basically stayed the same person, or do you remember other versions of yourself from other times in your life?

8. In the final moment in “Hotel Seattle,” the main character finds his boyfriend Steve waiting for him in the hotel lobby after he spends the night with Paul. “He was older than me and wise as God,” the main character thinks of Steve before they walk home together (p. 168). Discuss this scene. Did it surprise you? How is “Hotel Seattle” not only a story of violence and pain, but a love story?

9. In “Waiting for Charlie,” the nurse tells Charlie’s grandfather that smells “trigger memory quicker and deeper than any other kind of stimulant to the senses” (p. 172). Do you experience this connection between scent and memory in your own life?

10. In “Mansard,” young mother Audrey becomes captivated by Ben Yardley, the elegant and semi-estranged father of her friend Frances, when he unexpectedly reenters Frances’s life. Why is Audrey so drawn to Ben? What do you make of her subsequent futile efforts to find him? Is she truly searching for him, or for something else unnamable?

11. Discuss  setting in “South,” in which young mother Marie-Claude drives her two children from DC to South Carolina. Why do you think “South” takes place in a car? Do car rides allow for different kinds of conversations? Revelations?

12. Marie-Claude becomes frustrated when Flo corrects her on the details of her “Austrian ghost story.” She realizes her ex-husband must have told Flo the story, but left out a detail key to Marie-Claude’s experience. Have you ever felt that one of your own experiences or stories was co-opted by someone else after you shared it? Are there family stories in your life that you feel a sense of ownership over, even if you were not there to experience them?

13. “The Man at the Door,” in which the main character is tormented by a visitor as she attempts to finish writing a novel, makes a stylistic departure from the rest of the collection. What demons does this visitor represent for the main character? Does he represent forces of evil that recur across many of the stories in this book? What is the effect of King’s choice to personify them in this way? What do you think of the story’s ending?

14. The ten stories in this book take place generations and oceans apart—from Germany to Seattle, from the early 1950s to the late 1980s—and center a wide variety of main characters, yet the collection feels deeply cohesive. What common threads link them? What themes recur? Why do you think King chose to group these stories together? How do you see them in conversation with one another?

15. King writes from both male and female perspectives in these stories—many of which feature characters who, in large and small ways, either subvert or struggle with traditional gender roles and patriarchal expectations. What are some of these moments of subversion, struggle, or both?

16. What is the role of place in these stories? How do King’s evocatively rendered settings—the coastal Saxon town where Oda and Hanne vacation in “North Sea,” the Vermont apartment Lucy moves into with her brother in “Timeline,” the coastal New England town where Carol lives and babysits in “Creature”—influence each one’s tone and mood?

17. Many of the stories in this collection address pain and cruelty head-on, yet ultimately feel uplifting, buoyed by small acts of incredible love and generosity. How does King hold both brutality and tenderness in her stories?