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'The List'

I recognized Elsa on page 11 of The List, the author’s thinly disguised real best friend in her breakout first novel. Eight years ago at Café Milano, a bright young contemporary art dealer had brought her writer friend Karin Tanabe along to meet me. We were all there to network. I was at Capitol File magazine at the time (two years before Politico was launched), and knew immediately I was in the company of the best talent around. A wickedly funny, Vassar grad with expensive taste and exotic travel habits, Karin was already mulling over the theme for her first book.

Karin Tanabe via Facebook
Karin Tanabe via Facebook

Expecting a fun ride, I was delighted to discover that The List is also a tautly woven, witty tale of rising to the top in a field where nimble tweeting fingers are as important as recognizing senators from obscure western states and standing out in a room full of policy wonks. I knew Karin had those skills, but I was thrilled to see she doesn’t take herself too seriously and can write a ‘whydunnit’ as well as the best of ‘em.

It’s a stylishly haute romp between D.C. and Middleburg (where Adrienne Brown is currently living in her parents' horse barn while she tries to survive her first year as a gossip columnist at Capitolist, known to insiders as The List). She soon finds herself sleuthing around for photographic proof of what she hopes will be her ticket out of 14-hour cubicle-filled days in the publication’s Style department.

It’s a juicy story alright, one with plenty of self-deprecating irony and lustful drooling to keep you turning the pages till the end. A tale as much about situational ethics and coming of age as it as about the rigors of the modern media world, The List is a must-read.

Brava Karin!

Meet the author Saturday, February 23 at Politics and Prose.