Callum Littlefield walks a fine line between arrogant overconfidence and self-deprecating insecurity. After being ostracized by his peers and getting thrown out of his New England boarding school, Callum’s parents exile him to his aging grandmother’s Gold Coast estate on Long Island. He is promptly put to work with her smattering of servants, and is forced to interact with his old Macumba-practicing Brazilian nanny.
Though Callum reunites with old friends and tries his hand at the prep school party scene, he soon tires of his duties and escapes back to his family’s empty Manhattan townhouse. There he meets a young girl named Layla, who changes his life in more ways than even he can understand.
In one summer, Callum finds love, adventure, death, and heartbreak, all the while offering us a detailed social commentary on his blue blood, eastern surroundings.
The Catcher in the Rye meets Bright Lights, Big City.
Dorson boasts the perspective and talent to chronicle the elite of New York, from their sanctums on the Upper East Side — think Dorrian’s and JG Melon — to their enclaves on Long Island. The book offers an irreverent, snappy portrayal of a world where black-tie is more common than blue jeans, and people care about where you prepped.
Best debut novel of romantic privilege and perils since This Side of Paradise, and best ironic novel of the North Shore — the gilded one, Long Island — since The Great Gatsby. Like his Octopus, Dorson’s tale will grab you; you won’t escape, but you will expire with a smile.