The Lemon: A Novel (Hardcover)

The Lemon: A Novel By S. E. Boyd Cover Image
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Finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor

“[T]his poised and playful debut novel is a sly satire on foodie culture and the modern hype machine. . . . As tart as ‘artisanal citrus,’ as sharp as a chef’s knife, The Lemon is both a gleeful foodie sendup and an incisive takedown of the commercial exploitation of just about everything.”
—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

Named a Most Anticipated Book of Fall 2022 by Entertainment WeeklyVogueAARP the MagazineThe AV ClubParadeEaterNew York PostLitHubPublishers Lunch • and more!

Set in the intersecting worlds of fine dining, Hollywood, and the media, a darkly hilarious and ultimately affecting story about the underside of success and fame, and our ongoing complicity in devouring our cultural heroes.

While filming on location in Belfast, Northern Ireland, John Doe, the universally adored host of the culinary travel show Last Call, is found dead in a hotel room in an apparent suicide. As the news of his untimely demise breaks stateside, a group of friends, fixers, hustlers, and opportunists vie to seize control of the narrative: Doe’s chess-master of an agent Nia, ready to call in every favor she is owed to preserve his legacy; down-on-her-luck journalist Katie, who fabricates a story about Doe to save her job at a failing website; and world-famous chef Paolo Cabrini, Doe’s closest friend and confidant, who finds himself entangled with a deranged Belfast hotel worker whose lurid secret might just take them all down.

Bolstered by the authors' insider knowledge of high-end restaurants and low-end media, The Lemon delivers a raucous examination of our culture with deliciously cutting prose, crackling dialogue, and an unpredictable plot that will keep you riveted to the last page.

About the Author

S. E. Boyd is the creation of veteran journalists Kevin Alexander and Joe Keohane, and editor Alessandra Lusardi. All lightly damaged Catholics prone to extensive overanalysis, Alexander, Keohane, and Lusardi have between them authored four books, edited dozens more, and written for Esquire, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker, among others. Alexander also won a James Beard Award for food writing, a fact Keohane and Lusardi are both tired of hearing about. This is their first novel.

Praise For…

“[T]his poised and playful debut novel is a sly satire on foodie culture and the modern hype machine. . . . As tart as ‘artisanal citrus,’ as sharp as a chef’s knife, The Lemon is both a gleeful foodie sendup and an incisive takedown of the commercial exploitation of just about everything.” 
—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
“Boyd forcefully skewers what they refer to as the ‘Celebrity-Death Industrial Complex’ with spit-take-level humor.”
The Washington Post

“[An] acid, knife-edged satire on food-world mores and the vagaries of modern fame.”
Entertainment Weekly, Best New Books of Fall 2022

“Sure to set the food world abuzz, The Lemon is an archly acidic look at the celebrity death industrial complex and all those who seek to seize the narrative—and the spotlight—in the wake of a famous person’s death.”
Vogue, 25 Best Books to Read This Fall
“A winner that’s packed with dark humor.”
AARP the Magazine, 45 of Fall’s Best New Books

"A helluva novel. Hip-deep in knowing detail from the worlds of food, media, and Hollywood. . . A hilarious, brilliant, cynical (and maybe even a little sad) takedown of the moral vacuum that is celebrity culture."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A bawdy Judd-Apatow-meets-Carl-Hiaasen romp . . . The dialogue crackles, the zip line plot slings the reader from one hilariously fraught incident to the next, and the conclusion is as emotionally satisfying as ever an author—or three—could have concocted. Like a perfectly seared slice of foie gras with a dollop of lingonberry jam on an artisanal toast point, The Lemon simply cannot be put down, and when you’ve finished it, you’ll want more.”
—BookPage, starred review

“Every story line offers suspense and surprises, and the book's deadpan humor is unremitting. . . . This frequently brilliant debut novel is a hilarious spoof of monetization mania and foodie culture.”
Shelf Awareness

“This bitingly satiric tale examines the mix of greed and reverence that drives people who have something to gain or to protect. ”
Library Journal

“Laugh-out-loud sensational—a nonstop, scalpel-sharp, satirical skewering of, well, everything . . . A whole new genre: sardonic suspense!” 
—Lee Child
“Fearless, moving, and funny as hell. This is incisive, witty, era-defining literature like they used to make it. Thank God it’s back.”
—Lisa Taddeo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Three Women and Animal
 “The Lemon is the most fun I’ve had reading a made-up story in forever and a day. It rips on everything and everybody in our zeitgeist and beyond. It’s full of terrible people behaving like asses. Like real life. Funny, smart, surprising. Loved it.”
—Bob Odenkirk, star of Better Call Saul and New York Times bestselling author of Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama

“S. E. Boyd has taken the secret ingredient to fame—‘shameless persistence’—and used it to pressure-cook up a novel funny enough and hot enough to singe the high brows off of any raised-pinkie foodie.”
—Paul Beatty, Booker Prize–winning author of The Sellout

“Deliciously trenchant, hilarious, and impossible to put down, this dark comedy says something profound about the world of celebrity and the mesmerizing subversives within it.”
—Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author of the international bestsellers Sarong Party Girls and A Tiger in the Kitchen

“Witty, razor sharp, and enviably well-written, The Lemon is the bombshell book that members of the food-obsessed Kitchen Confidential generation have been waiting for.” 
—Adam Platt, former New York Magazine chief restaurant critic and author of The Book of Eating

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593490440
ISBN-10: 0593490444
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: November 8th, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English