The Rest of Us

"A stellar fiction newcomer." —NPR "Fresh Air"

"The Rest of Us proves to be a compelling, resonant, richly nuanced, and sometimes heartbreaking portrait of cross-generational love and the meaning of art...[it's] beautifully paced and totally engrossing." —Boston Globe

"Jessica Lott's debut surges with life...both its central love story and its account of an artistic coming of age glow with verisimilitude. From the start it's evident that Lott has a mordantly acute comic sensibility. It turns out that she can also write with tenderness and restraint about life's inevitable tragic turns." —Chicago Tribune

**Winner of the 2013 Fiction Award for the New England Book Festival**

"Lott’s talent for poetic language, her realistic depiction of the plight of the female artist, and the difficulty of female friendships prove her to be a promising new voice in fiction." —The Daily Beast, “Hot Reads”

“Lott’s characterization, dialogue, and affection for her characters are winning…Accomplished debut fiction.” —Kirkus Reviews,“11 Debut Novels We Love”

“Although The Rest of Us is about art, love, and life, it is also about longing and belonging. Jessica writes with tremendous skill and sophistication, and the novel is truly a pleasure to read.” —Ha Jin, author of Waiting and War Trash

“In her debut novel, the vastly talented and wise beyond her years Jessica Lott crafts a beautifully written and clear-eyed portrait of the artist as a young woman…while tackling the complicated issues of female identity and ambition and the need to make art and feel known.” —Elissa Schappell, author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls

A smart literary debut, The Rest of Us is an indelible love story that explores the legacy of an affair between a young student and her older professor. As a college student, Terry fell madly and destructively in love with Rhinehart, her older, famous poetry professor, tumbling into a relationship from which she never fully recovered. Now, fifteen years later, she is single, still living in the New York City walk-up she moved into after college, and languishing as a photographer’s assistant, having long abandoned her own art. But when she stumbles upon Rhinehart’s obituary online listing his many accomplishments, she finds herself taking stock of the ways her life has not lived up to her youthful expectations—and disproportionately distraught at the thought that she’ll never see him again.

Imagine her surprise when, a few weeks later, she bumps into him: very much alive, married, and Christmas shopping at Bloomingdale’s. What ensues is an intense and beautiful friendship, an unexpected second act that pushes Terry to finally reckon with the consequences of their past and the depth of her own aspirations—and to begin to come back alive as an artist and a woman.

As much a love letter to New York City and the struggles of its artists as it is a sharp and stirring novel of the heart, Jessica Lott’s debut sets out to answer questions that haunt us all: Why do certain people come into our lives and have such an enduring effect on us? How and why do we become stuck in our lives? And is love really always the answer? As Brigid Pasulka, author of A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True, writes, “The Rest of Us deftly illuminates not only the loneliness of the city but also the struggles we all face in transplanting the fantasies of our youth into our adult realities.”

Now out from Simon & Schuster