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A gripping, unforgettable portrait of life in a Montauk summer house–a debut memoir of first love, identity and self-discovery among a group of friends who became family.
They call Montauk the end of the world, a spit of land jutting into the Atlantic. The house was a ramshackle split-level set on a hill, and each summer thirty one people would sleep between its thin walls and shag carpets. Against the moonlight the house’s octagonal roof resembled a bee’s nest. It was dubbed The Hive.
In 2013, John Glynn joined the share house. Packing his duffel for that first Memorial Day Weekend, he prayed for clarity. At 27, he was crippled by an all-encompassing loneliness, a feeling he had carried in his heart for as long as he could remember. John didn’t understand the loneliness. He just knew it was there. Like the moon gone dark.
OUT EAST is the portrait of a summer, of the Hive and the people who lived in it, and John’s own reckoning with a half-formed sense of self. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, The Hive was a center of gravity, a port of call, a home. Friendships, conflicts, secrets and epiphanies blossomed within this tightly woven friend group and came to define how they would live out the rest of their twenties and beyond. Blending the sand-strewn milieu of George Howe Colt’s The Big House, the radiant aching of Olivia Liang’s The Lonely City, OUT EAST is a keenly wrought story of love and transformation, longing and escape in our own contemporary moment.
“‘We were sun children chasing an eternal summer.’ This boisterous chronicle of a summer in Montauk sees a group of 20-something housemates who’ll grow to know, to love, and care for one another. They work hard during the week, party hard on weekends, and each will face heartthrob and heartbreak. A coming out story told with feeling and humor and above all with the razor-sharp skill of a delicate and highly gifted writer.”
―André Aciman, New York Times bestselling author of Call Me by Your Name
“No author has captured a millennial milieu better or with more empathy than John Glynn. Out East is a perfectly paced memoir and riveting portrait of a friend group. I loved it.”
―Anita Shreve, New York Times bestselling author of The Pilot’s Wife and The Stars are Fire
“John Glynn wonderfully captures it all: the bars, the clothes, the music, the breakups, the giddiness and terror of being young in New York, searching for yourself all week, searching for someone else on weekends, in one of the world’s most hauntingly beautiful beach towns. If you’re in your twenties you’ll smile and nod at the joy and pain of Glynn’s quest. If you’re not in your twenties, he’ll make you feel as if you are. A gorgeous debut.”
―J.R. Moehringer, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Tender Bar
“Out East is full of intimacy and hope and frustration and joy, an extraordinary tale of emotional awakening and lacerating ambivalence, a confession of self-doubt that becomes self-knowledge. It beautifully charts the dynamics of a group of people in a house share, but it’s also about the emergence of its narrator into an exquisite emotional honesty. It’s gripping and generous, and hidden in its rollicking naivete is a good measure of authentic wisdom.”
―Andrew Solomon, National Book Award winner
“John Glynn’s Out East is a combination travelogue and memoir. He brings the eye of a cultural explorer to the time-honored ritual of summertime house shares by young people from the city in the beach communities of Long Island and while this in and of itself would be plenty to compel a reader’s attention, the book does so much more, layering in the story of the author’s own sexual awakening amid the dunes and the drinks and the bravura. His voice throughout, as comforting as a distant horizon and as light as a passing cloud, heralds the arrival of a wonderful new talent.”
―Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of To the New Owners: A Memoir of Martha’s Vineyard
“Glynn has a documentarian’s eye and a poet’s tongue. He describes an idyllic, privileged summer suffused with personal turmoil and millennial malaise with such beautiful precision. This book is a rare glimpse into an elusive feeling, part dreamlike crush, part seismic shift. This is a memoir about his life but it also generously and wisely shifts perspectives to give a fuller portrait of a group of friends in transition.”
―R. Eric Thomas, author of Here For It
“Slyly funny and heroically honest, Out East will charm you on every page, even as you ache for its sensitive and searching narrator. With his gorgeous, precise, soulful prose and discerning eye for sociological detail, John Glynn offers a perceptive, youthful, and heartfelt summertime story of love and longing on the hedonistic shores of Long Island that revives the spirit of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby to speak for our present moment.”
―Stefan Merrill Block, author of The Story of Forgetting
“In his tender and inspiring coming-of-age debut, John Glynn explores how a single summer of beer pong, sunshine, and friendship showed him it was time to be honest with the world, and with himself.”
―Ada Calhoun, author of St. Marks Is Dead