Around the Bookstore: ‘Pineapple Street’

Knopf editor is on the other side of the editing table.


Debuting this week at No. 5 on the NY Times Hardcover Best Seller list is “Pineapple Street,” a first-time book by Jenny Jackson, set amongst the uber-wealthy in Brooklyn Heights (I know, Brooklyn Heights?).

It contains a line, already becoming famous, spoken by Georgiana, one of the family the book follows: “Oh no, I left my Cartier tennis bracelet in Lena’s BMW, and she’s leaving for her grandmother’s house in Southampton.”

Which says a lot about the family and the book.

But what is interesting about this release is the pedigree of the author, who is a vice president and executive editor at Knopf, an imprint of Penguin Random House, the largest publisher in the world. Jackson has recently shepherded Cormac McCarthy’s two newest books, “The Passenger,” and “Stella Maris,” onto bookshelves, representing a major comeback for the author. Other authors she has guided include Gabrielle Zevin, “Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” Chris Bohjalian, “Hour of the Witch”; indeed, the list represents a full phalanx of current literary stars.

Kirkus Reviews trumpeted “Pineapple Street” as a “remarkably enjoyable visit with the annoying 1 percent, as close to crazy rich WASPs as WASPs can get.” Note that Kevin Kwan, author of “Crazy Rich Asians,” is yet another of Jackson’s authors.

Known in the publishing world for her sensitive touch in editing, Jackson was sent into a full halt by an 18-page critique, though she persevered to the finish line. Like so many books hitting our shelves this year, “Pineapple Street” was pandemic-born, a way of steadying herself as the rest of her life stopped. Writing it was as much a surprise to her as it was to the rest of the world. Like so many of us, she was looking for something to do when there was nothing to do.

Writing the book put her on the other side of the editing table, a lesson she has taken to heart.

As these things go, it has already been optioned for a television series, with hopes it will be a “Sex and the City” for Brooklyn Heights. Again, Brooklyn Heights? That’s where the characters — lookalike cousins — played by Patty Duke in “The Patty Duke Show” lived back in the 1960s.

Mathew Tombers is the manager of Edgartown Books.