Combining sly humor with an urban edge, Kate Christensen's In the Drink tells the story of a resolutely clear-eyed young woman who makes a complete mess of her life, and lives to tell the tale. The novel's heroine is the smart, pretty, underemployed, and single Claudia Steiner, personal secretary to Genevieve del Castellano, a terrifying, glamorous semi-lunatic who has it in for her for reasons she can't even begin to fathom. William, her best friend, considers Claudia his pal, his confidante, his sidekick in matters amatory, which would be fine if she weren't desperately in love with him herself. Further complicating matters is Claudia's old lover John Threadgill, an unpublished epic poet whose marriage to a Romanian stripper named Rima hasn't kept him from trying to seduce Claudia at every opportunity. Claudia came to New York City fresh out of college, buoyed along by her dream of becoming a journalist. But her starry-eyed notion of Claudia Steiner, Reporter on the Beat, quickly vanished into the ozone when she couldn't muster the requisite hard-bitten, white-hot urgency, the chain-smoking, the yelling, and the cutthroat story-mongering. Now, at the age of twenty-nine, she finds herself adrift in the city, careening dangerously from catastrophe to catastrophe. Desperately trying to keep her head above water, Claudia has little to rely on but a wry sense of humor, a keen appreciation of the medicinal properties of whiskey, and something more subtle-a persistent little flame of belief in herself, which makes a happy ending seem possible even in this most unforgiving of cities. Hilarious, compassionate, and keenly observed, In the Drink is the enormously entertaining debut of a startlingly talented young writer. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Kate Christensen's Blue Plate Special.