"Kath is curious," observes her younger brother, Ethan, not without anxiety. She is thirteen; already everyone can see she's got her eye on bigger things than provincial Fresno can offer. Years in the glamorous chill of an East Coast prep school will introduce her to a razor-sharp sense of social distinction, cocaine "so good it's pink," and an indispensable best friend—all that she needs to prepare for life in Manhattan. There will be fourteen-dollar cocktails but no money for groceries; unsuitable men of enormous charm, and unsuitable jobs of no charm at all; and a wistful yearning for a transformation from someone of promise into someone of genius.
In this deliciously witty and affecting debut novel, fiction winks at real life: Katherine Taylor is its muddled heroine, and also its author. Written in the tradition of Curtis Sittenfeld and Melissa Bank, with the gorgeous hues of a pile of Gatsby's shirts, Rules for Saying Goodbye is a bittersweet yet comic coming-of-age tale that has an unerring feel for the delights and malaises of a generation.
"Katherine Taylor certainly created some noise before the publication of her first novel, Rules for Saying Goodbye. She picked a feud with writer Benjamin Kunkel, whose novel Indecision, she said, was ‘ridiculously simple and would have been branded chick lit if it had been written by a woman. Then, by way of pointing out what's she up against, Taylor was quoted as saying, ‘It's hard, when you're blond and attractive and you live in Los Angeles and you've written a book about young women in New York, not to be called chick lit.' The fact is, Taylor is attractive and Rules for Saying Goodbye is a treat. Chick lit or coming-of-age? You be the judge."—Sherryl Connelly, Daily News
"Cancel your date, pour a martini and turn off your phone because this book will make you feel like you've just sat down with a woman who is sharing her life story—and trust us, you'll want to listen. Brimming with blunt words and raw emotion, the book follows Kate Taylor (author Katherine Taylor's fictional alter ego) through an elite cocaine-drenched prep school, road trips with her often depressed mother, bartending in Manhattan and repeated lost loves."—The Atlantan
"Debut novelist Katherine Taylor, who'll give you the evil eye if you dare call her work chick lit, has already been compared to Dorothy Parker, with whom she shares a talent for scathing wit and chillingly honest prose. Rules for Saying Goodbye, a coming-of-age novel that pulls no punches, revolves around the misadventures of heroine Katherine Taylor, who shares more than just a name with her creator. Both Katherines grew up in California, spent years at a posh prep school and ended up bartending in Manhattan. But unlike her fictional alter ego, the author transformed her hilarious and heartbreaking experiences into a novel you won't soon forget."—Zink
"Achieves a directness and intimacy few novels can match. A beautifully observed and poignant book."—T.C. Boyle
"Katherine Taylor's debut novel is . . . wry, funny, heartfelt, and written with grace. I thought boys had the patent on cruelty, but wow, girls can be rough on each other! And yet it's a testament to Taylor's talent that this novel never loses sight of the complexity, the humanity, at the heart of these characters. The story isn't always pretty, but it's so damn good."—Victor LaValle, author of The Ecstatic and Slapboxing with Jesus
"This story tumbles through years of a life, careening through cities, through decadent days and nights, through ranks of soulful and magnetic characters. Taylor can wink like Dorothy Parker, and move through worlds like Christopher Isherwood. After you read the last page, your shirt-cuffs will be stained with wine and perfumed with cigarette smoke, and you will be giddy and exhausted from this long, tender, bittersweet, intimate, lovely party."—Jardine Libaire, author of Here Kitty Kitty
"For a fleeting and innocent period in a certain kind of girl's life, cocktails and cigarettes are just an excuse to talk to each other. Rules for Saying Goodbye elegantly describes how this equation reverses—the talking becomes the excuse for the cocktails and cigarettes. In her smart and funny novel, Katherine Taylor renders with unusual precision both the wistfulness and the wit in female friendships."—Dana Spiotta, National Book Award-nominated author of Eat the Document
"Katherine Taylor's debut features a narrator named Katherine Taylor, whose rebellious mother sends her from Fresno to Manhattan's fictional Claver prep at age 13. The madcap, fast-forward shenanigans that follow read like Auntie Mame à la A.M. Homes. Rich Claver friend Page gets pregnant and develops a coke habit. Katherine gets a Columbia M.F.A. but lacks drive, tending bar at an exclusive hotspot while trying not to deal with her abrasive mom. Katherine's brother, Ethan, a gay actor, rooms with her in her cheap uptown digs until he becomes 'the face of Diet Coke.' There's ambivalent romance that involves a move to London. Claver friend Clarissa gets cancer as she turns 30. When a nutty neighbor threatens to kill Katherine, police advise vacating, but 'giving up a rent-controlled apartment to save your life is as ridiculous as living in Queens.' While a lot of what Katherine does is familiar, Taylor is a superb satirist, eviscerating everyone in her Katherine's path . . . Taylor manages to make worn New York yarns feel fresh again."—Publishers Weekly