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'Eat, Pray, Love' author Elizabeth Gilbert has a new novel coming, 'City of Girls'

'Eat, Pray, Love' author Elizabeth Gilbert has a new novel coming, 'City of Girls'
Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert will publish a new novel, "City of Girls." (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestselling 2006 memoir "Eat, Pray, Love," will release a novel next year, titled “City of Girls.”

Publisher Riverhead announced that the book will be "a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s."

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The novel follows Vivian Morris, a young woman who's been expelled from Vassar College and goes to live in Manhattan with her aunt, a theater owner. Vivian encounters a series of bohemian actors and writers before becoming embroiled in a professional scandal.

Sarah McGrath, the editor in chief of Riverhead, described the book as "delicious."

"I fully suspected that this would be a delectable, immersive book," McGrath said. "What I didn’t know was that it would make me laugh out loud and underline passage after passage with its wisdom, that it would make me nod knowingly and also ultimately cry, from emotional connection. It’s a loving, knowing book. It’s a novel about finding liberation, about being yourself and fighting for what you need in order to find real happiness."

"City of Girls" is Gilbert's eighth book. She has written nonfiction — "Eat, Pray, Love," which was adapted into a hit movie starring Julia Roberts in 2010, the biography "The Last American Man" and 2015’s "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" — and also fiction, including the 2014 novel “The Signature of All Things,” about a female botanist in the 19th century.

Gilbert told People magazine that her new novel is "the lightest, funniest thing I’ve written out of the darkest grief." Gilbert's partner, author Rayya Elias, died of cancer in January.

"This book is different from others that I’ve written in that it came from a place of me wanting a tonic for my own life to make me happy," Gilbert said. "And I offer it that way, as a tonic. I told my editor I want this book to go down like a gin fizz."

On Facebook, Gilbert wrote that she "wanted to create something that would bring myself and my readers joy, escape, and delight."

"It’s a fun book, you guys. I think you’ll like it," she wrote. "And after writing 'The Signature of All Things,' I really, really, really wanted to create a female character who finally gets to have a lot of sex — and on her own terms. Thank god."

"City of Girls" is slated to be published June 5, 2019.

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