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Three-Martini Lunch

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,190 ratings  ·  412 reviews
From the author of the “thrilling” (The Christian Science Monitor) novel The Other Typist comes an evocative, multilayered story of ambition, success, and secrecy in 1950s New York.
In 1958, Greenwich Village buzzes with beatniks, jazz clubs, and new ideas—the ideal spot for three ambitious young people to meet. Cliff Nelson, the son of a successful book editor, is convi
Hardcover, 500 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing

When I first heard about Three-Martini Lunch – a 500-page novel alternately narrated by the bohemian son of a renowned book editor, a feminist wannabe editor, and a talented black writer from Harlem – all sorts of bells started going off.

“It’s bound to borrow every cliché from the 1950s or else, fall into the pattern of a 1950s politically correct reality tale,” I thought. Fortunately, I thought wrong. This is a gripping and mesmerizing story that keeps getting better and better and better. By t
4.5 stars, and a big thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House.

I was mostly drawn to this book because I loved and adored  Rindell's  "The Other Typist," and also because it takes place in New York, in the 50's, in the publishing world.  Such exciting stuff!  I mean, I was in heaven as I flipped the pages.  Am I the only reader who thinks the absolute dream job, albeit elusive, would be editor for a major (even a minor) publishing company?

The characters are wonderfully fleshed out, and th
Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it
‘We are never the heroes of our own stories, unless we are lying.’

The truest words from this book, unfortunately, they were too few and arrived too late for me to rate beyond three stars. At 500 pages, I feel a slight hangover and I don’t remember having that much fun.

I was promised a publishing world version of Mad Men, but instead what I found was a story that never fully engaged and often felt clichéd and out of sorts. I realize I’m comparing a television series that can rely on costumes and
(4.5) Rindell brings the late 1950s, specifically the bustling, cutthroat New York City publishing world, to life through the connections between three young people who collide over a debated manuscript. The three first-person voices fit together like a dream. It’s an expert evocation of Beat culture and post-war paranoia over communism and homosexuality. Walking into Eden’s office with her, especially, you’ll think you’ve landed on the set of Mad Men.

This classy, well-plotted follow-up will win
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-release
I once caught a student cheating. She had turned in a project that was word-for-word identical to two of her friends’. The other two girls were suitably remorseful, but this girl met me in the hallway with a defiant thrust to her chin. When I called her mother and relayed what had happened, her mother’s casual response was, and I quote, “I cheated in high school, and I turned out fine.”

Perhaps this is why plagiarism so deeply offends me: the brazenness of it, and the blasé acceptance with which
Marilyn C.
Apr 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016

The premise of this book, NYC publishing world, Greenwich Village, and Three-Martini lunches seemed like such an exciting combination for a novel. The book is set in the 1950's and deals with the era's social issues, such as anti-Semitism, race, equality for women and sexuality. This story had so much going for it, but started off way too slow. Written in a three character perspective- Cliff, a rich wannabe writer- Eden, an aspiring book editor and Miles, a talented writer from Harlem, this book
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars. 1958, Greenwich Village: Three young people struggle to make it in the publishing industry while also wrestling with identity issues. Suzanne Rindell deftly juggles a wide range of issues: class, sexuality, racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism. I felt completely immersed in the setting. This book gave me so many emotions and I had a bit of a book hangover after finishing it!
"True bravery is rare."

James Magnuson says that this book "does for publishing what Mad Men did for advertisin
Jessica Jeffers
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Two relatively generic things before we launch into my thoughts on this book.
1. Why are there so many books lately that utilize the “three overlapping storylines” device? Are that many being written, or am I somehow just reading all of them? Is anyone else getting a little tired of it?

So if you haven’t done so already, don’t read the jacket copy of this book. The description here on G
As the end of the year approaches, I'm going through a weird period of reading malaise: it's not that I don't have any enthusiasm for reading – in fact, over the past month I've been tearing through books at alarming speed – but I just don't have any particular focus or theme, or even a reading plan in mind. My attentions, therefore, have turned to a sort of clearout of my to-read list. Which of the year's most-talked-about books have I not had a go at? What have I been meaning to read all year, ...more
Julie Ehlers
Dec 27, 2018 marked it as tossed-aside
In the Acknowledgments section of Three-Martini Lunch, Suzanne Rindell says she wrote this novel in an attempt to put On the Road, Giovanni's Room, The Best of Everything, and The Bell Jar into conversation with one another. This is an ambitious undertaking, probably out of reach of even the most gifted of writers. It's no surprise, then, that it's also out of reach of Suzanne Rindell. Indeed, this particular ambition does nothing but weigh down the story she's trying to tell. The milieu is so a ...more
Oct 26, 2016 marked it as put-aside
Some time ago a couple of Goodreads friends gushed about this novel about the publishing industry in the late fifties, early-sixties and I put it on my list where it promptly became buried under newer material. I must not have read their reviews very carefully, because just the notion of a “publisher’s lunch” featuring martinis stuck. That sounded aspirational.

The other day as I scanned the “new” shelves at my public library for a book that has so far eluded me, I saw the thick spine of this boo
Steven Walle
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
great book.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: misc-fiction
Somehow I made it through all 500 pages, so it wasn't terrible, and definitely picked up the pace towards the end. But I felt clobbered over the head with the none-too-novel idea that yes, the fifties were terrible for women, gay people, black people and everyone else who didn't conform. And then the fact that every character had to also be hiding a huge secret related to their marginalized position made the whole thing a little too convenient. "The Fifties: Not as Fun as Advertised" would be an ...more
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The hipster scene...

It's 1958, and Greenwich Village in New York is the centre of the hipster scene, populated by aspiring poets and writers – some, dilettante rich boys, others more serious in pursuit of their dreams. Here we meet the three characters who take turns to narrate their own stories. Eden is a young woman just arrived from Indiana, determined to make it in the male-dominated world of publishing. Rich boy Cliff's father has cut off his allowance, determined to force his son to earn h
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Now this book is very different from her first novel"The Other Typist"(a psychological thriller)which I liked.This book on the other hand is a historical fiction..very interesting story and enjoyed it very much. ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I would probably have liked this book better if Cliff weren't such a piece of crap person. It's very hard to stay invested in a book where one of the main characters has few if any redeeming qualities. ...more
Roger Brunyate
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-lesbian
Righteous Anger

This is a book that made me angry towards the end, but it was appropriate anger. What starts as a rather light-hearted novel about young writers and artists in Greenwich Village in the late fifties eventually turns dark. Slowly, you are reminded that this was not merely a locus of beatnik sensibilities and creative freedom, but also a period of intolerance and prejudice, racial, sexual, and sexist. As your hopes of a storybook ending fade, you have to acknowledge the truth in it,
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-books
I have so many feelings about this book, all of them frustrated. In the meantime, I will say that I could have done without another white woman writing (view spoiler) or (view spoiler). Also, I hate Cliff. I hate Cliff so much. I hate him so much it isn't even satisfying.

The writing is fine, and the subject material is certainly fascinating, but everyone makes so many c
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are expecting another The Other Typist, then you will be disappointed but if you want a good read about publishing in the late 50s and the beatnik movement in the Village, with flawed but great characters, this is for you.

Ms. Rindell tackles some tough subject matters during the course of the novel and does it extremely well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and these characters will stay with me for a long time.
More like 3.5 stars really.

For me, this was a book that got better as it progressed, leading up to an ending that walloped me and made my heart clench in sadness. I suppose this is better than the alternative where a book starts off strong only to fizzle out, but my rating indicates that as much as I came to enjoy the book and quickly turn its pages, I found the pacing uneven and the first 150-200 pages were rather meandering and plodding. Yes they introduce us to the characters and set the sce
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2016
Having been entranced by Suzanne Rindell's first novel The Other Typist, I was delighted to win a First Read's ARC copy of her second book. And though Three-Martini Lunch is a very different book from the first, Ms Rindell does not disappoint. Late 1950s New York and San Francisco provide the setting for a look at the book publishing industry. Told mainly through the eyes of three protagonists, it is a tale of secrets kept, choices made and the repercussions that reverberate for years to come. C ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Audio was brilliant - 3 different narrators for the 3 main characters. Proper review to come later.
Cynthia Corral
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, guaranteed one of the best of 2016.
Edited and expanded, because I stayed up all night to finish and review it.

We follow three young New Yorkers in the late 1950s, along with their groups of friends, and see how their paths diverge and cross and connect again.
Eden, the ambitious girl from the midwest, whose Achilles heel is her heritage as well as her gender.
Cliff, the privileged white man who is 60% plans and dreams and 40% excuses with nothing left for talent or ambition.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was so excited to see Suzanne Rindell's second book being offered on Net Galley for review. I LOVED her first book! So I put in a request and literally jumped for joy when I got approved. It's been sitting on my TBR pile for a while since it doesn't come out until April and I was so glad to see that I could move it up the list.

What a GREAT read! I'm sitting here finished with the book looking around and no one, no one, knows what a great story I have just finished. It touched all of my emotio
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
Wow! I loved this book. Set in 1950s it follows the story of three fabulous characters who are trying to make a success in the publishing industry whilst struggling with issues of race, gender, sexuality and betrayal.

I absolutely loved following these characters even when at times you might not like them.

Rindell has written this story in such a beautiful way it meant that I spent a week lost in the hipster era of NY's village in the late 50s with conflicted characters that I won't forget very
Lynn G.
Three Martini lunch was almost 5* for me. The well told story in three voices was very insightful about the late 1950s and early 1960s in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and New York's publishing world. The main characters were well defined and distinct. I was immediately pulled into each of their lives and cared about what happened to them, even when I hoped something awful would happen to one character in particular. The author created fine tension and put enough twists and turns in the plot so tha ...more
May 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Maybe 2 1/2. The story moved along, mostly after the first couple hundred pages, but the writing is pedestrian at best (to the point of distraction), and her compositional approach is formulaic and cliche. She also drifts too much (communism, sexual orientation, race, gender, substance abuse---blah blah blah), when I wanted more focus on the 50s publishing scene, as what seemed to be promised.
Debbie Robson
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Well, I’m very surprised at my reading experience with Three-Martini Lunch - the complete opposite to Rindell’s earlier book which I’m pretty sure I raced through. Although I really liked the atmosphere of the book - the tone of the times and the depiction of Greenwich Village I discovered, contrarily, that once the action really started to unfold (about 250 pages in) I kept putting the book down. At first I couldn’t understand why this was happening. I mean by this time I had invested 300 pages ...more
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I could use a few more 3 martini lunches. Both the book and the boozy meal.

I was actually surprised I liked this book as much as I did. Until about 2/3 of the way through I was floating between 3 and 4 stars. But it really snuck up on me how great this novel truly is.

The book braids together 3 linear narratives. The author does this in such a way that no one scene is repeated, but instead the new point of view takes up where the last one left off. The tone and style differs with each point of
Thank you to my Goodreads Friends for providing such wonderful reviews for this book - it is because of those reviews that I added this to my "TBR" list.
The 3 first-person narratives in the book make it so authentic, plausible, and very readable especially due to the varied backgrounds of the narrators. These narratives also allow for 3 very strong plots with several interwoven subplots that are tightly concluded in the epilogue. The settings of San Francisco and New York's Harlem and The Villag
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Suzanne Rindell earned her PhD in English literature from Rice University in spring 2018. She is the author of the forthcoming historical mystery, THE TWO MRS. CARLYLES (July 28, 2020), as well as EAGLE & CRANE (2018), THREE-MARTINI LUNCH (2016) and THE OTHER TYPIST (2013). THE OTHER TYPIST has been translated into 15 languages and optioned for film by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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