A New York Times Editors’ Choice
Named a Best New Book of the Year by Harper’s Bazaar
Named a Best Book of the Summer by Shondaland, SheReads, The Boston Globe, Harper’s Bazaar, and Reader’s Digest
From an acclaimed senior editor at Vanity Fair comes a “laudable” (The New York Times) debut novel about a young journalist who discovers a short story that’s inexplicably about her life—leading to an entanglement with the author’s widow, daughter, and former best friend.
Sal Cannon’s life is in shambles. Her relationship is crumbling, and her career in journalism hits a low point after it’s revealed that her profile of a playwright is full of inaccuracies. She’s close to rock-bottom when she reads a short story by Martin Keller: a much older author she met at a literary event years ago. Much to her shock, the story is about her and the moment they met. When Sal learns the story is excerpted from his unpublished novel, she reaches out to the story’s editor—only to learn that Martin is deceased. Desperate to leave her crumbling life behind and to read the manuscript from which the story was excerpted, Sal decides to find Martin’s widow, Moira.
Moira has made it clear that she doesn’t want to be contacted. But soon Sal is on a bus to upstate New York, where she slowly but surely inserts herself into Moira’s life. Or is it the other way around? As Sal sifts through Martin’s papers and learns more about Moira, the question of muse and artist arises—again and again. Even more so when Martin’s daughter’s story emerges. Who owns a story? And who is the one left to tell it?
The Mythmakers is a nesting doll of a book that grapples with perspective and memory, as well as the batteries between creative ambition and love. It’s a “page-turner” (theSkimm) about the trials and tribulations of finding out who you are, at any stage in your life, and how inspiration might find you in the strangest of places.
Praise for The Mythmakers
“Laudable… A fresh addition to the library of fiction about tortured literati.”
—The New York Times
“Writers love books about writers—I know. But The Mythmakers isn’t just another novel about novelists—or journalists, for that matter, though our anti-hero of sorts, Sal, is a painfully relatable New York City transplant trying to make it in magazines…which we very quickly realize isn’t going as well as she hoped. Who hasn’t been there?
The “real” story, however, isn’t necessarily about Sal. It’s about the stories and story-tellers she seeks out after the fact. You’ll fall in love with each and every one of them along the way, and even start to root for Sal, a woman protagonist who dares to be unlikeable, as her steadfast and even stubborn persistence leads her to a tangled (yet touching!) web of tales that she—and the reader—could have never expected.” —Danielle Sinay, Glamour, “Glamour’s Best Books of 2023”
"In Weir’s clever debut novel, a newly unemployed writer recognizes herself in a story by a semi-notable, now-dead writer in an important magazine. Her quest for his motivation and “truth”leads to personal and professional turmoil."
—New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
“Keziah Weir's debut novel takes an age-old literary question—is this fiction actually based off reality?—and twists it into a compelling story about art, perspective, and the line between inspiration and transgression. The Mythmakers isn't from the perspective of a novelist, though: It begins with a down-on-her-luck journalist who recognizes herself in a short story by an acclaimed, and recently deceased, author.” —Harper's Bazaar, The 45 Best New Books of 2023 You Won’t Put Down
“The novel gathers complexity and momentum as the voices of multiple narrators speed toward a cluster of climaxes, each one complicating the last.”
“The Mythmakers asks how and why we remember the stories we do and who gets to tell them.”
—Shondaland, The Best Books to Read for Summer
“This is a page-turner that raises big questions about memory, truth, and who really owns a narrative.”
—The Skimm, 17 of Our Favorite Books Coming Out this Summer
"In Keziah Weir’s controlled, tense debut novel, a floundering young journalist reads an excerpt from a book by a successful novelist — and it’s about her! The Mythmakers follows her as she untangles her long-ago meeting with the author and tries to understand his life, asking all the while, 'who gets to tell a story?'"
“The Mythmakers is a smart, compelling novel, one which seems to change shape the further one reads, which serves to question the very act — and beliefs — of reading and writing."
"A thoughtful [debut] about what it means to make, and remake, a self."
"Engrossing... [An] auspicious debut."
"A compelling story about art, perspective, and the line between inspiration and transgression."
—Harper's Bazaar, The 24 Best New Books of 2023
"In The Mythmakers, Keziah Weir has written a quiet, ‘revelatory’ first novel."
—Portland Press Herald
"A meditation on art and memory, a twisty literary mystery, and the story of a young woman's emergence into her true self, The Mythmakers is full of surprise and delight."
—Dani Shapiro, New York Times best-selling author of Inheritance and Signal Fires
"Every once in a while, a novel appears that grips you and confides in you as an old friend would. Keziah Weir’s The Mythmakers is not only a love letter to the mysteries that bind us, but it’s also a remarkable portrayal of how we move forward, stumble, get up again and rebuild our lives when we need to the most. Suspenseful, elegant, so full of life and the ghosts we carry, this is, quite simply, beautiful storytelling."
—Paul Yoon, author of Run Me to Earth
“A novel about ambition—art-making, self-making—and the ways in which, when questions of gender and desire and love enter the scene, lies and truths can tangle as intricately as the links of a fine necklace. THE MYTHMAKERS glitters with suspense, and it held me rapt. Keziah Weir has arrived.”
—Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson
“Keziah Weir’s THE MYTHMAKERS is a wildly inventive, thought-provoking page-turner filled with luminous language and resonant characters. It tackles the weightiest of subjects—love, art, inspiration, death—with grace and wit. This is the rare novel that will stay with me for a very, very long time."
—Tara Conklin, NYTimes-bestselling author of The Last Romantics