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Christina McDowell


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Christina McDowell is the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed books, The Cave Dwellers: A Novel & After Perfect: A Daughter's Memoir. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, O, The Oprah Magazine, People Magazine, LA Weekly, Marie Claire, USA Today, The Village Voice, among others. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Christina is an advocate for restorative justice and children who have been impacted by prison. She lives in Washington, D.C.  


"“After reading this ruthless satire of their behavior, [the Capital's oldest and wealthiest families] probably can’t sue for slander, but they might want to beg for mercy. . . . For its merciless humor and brazen exposure of salon secrets, The Cave Dwellers should join that small collection of essential Washington books. . . . After all, this is an author who knows her victims’ antique attitudes and traditions as well as Marjorie Merriweather Post knew her china settings.” 


“Through blunt caricatures and sharp characterizations, McDowell archly demonstrates her disdain for the superficiality of such an existence and combines social satire with moral outrage to offer a masterfully crafted, absorbing read that can simply entertain on one level and provoke reasoned discourse on another.”

–BOOKLIST  (starred review)

“Could be the most delicious Washington novel in recent memory . . . keenly observed, compelling . . . the novel uses a scalpel where others might deploy a hatchet . . . The Cave Dwellers would be a page turner no matter when it was released, but in today’s climate . . . it practically qualifies as required reading.”


"The satire here is deeply wounding; racism, misogyny, and class hierarchy are all fair game, and the irony is inescapable and delicious. . . . A fascinating, gossipy glimpse into the lives of the one percent (with footnotes) that should appeal to readers who enjoyed The Assistants, by Camille Perri, or Capital Girls, by Ella Monroe.”


"The Cave Dwellers Belongs Among the Essential Books About Washington"





“McDowell’s mordant debut novel sends up the Washington, D.C., establishment. . . the drama is thick . . . the satire cuts deep.”



“Christina McDowell's sharp, observant novel about a tribe of established, powerful Washington families whose secrets are tearing them apart. The book is part comedy of manners, part cautionary tale, and part insiders-guide to the secret codes of power… A delicious take on the one percent in our nation's capital.”



“Following the acclaimed After Perfect: A Daughter’s Memoir, this study of old money, new money, and class status in Washington, DC, confirms McDowell’s strength as a writer.”




“The Cave Dwellers is a provocative and extraordinary tale of family legacy, racism, classism, and greed. In scathing prose, McDowell’s writing is as addictive as it is powerful. Love this book and it’s still lingering in my mind weeks after reading it.”

-JAMES FREY, New York Times Bestselling author of A Million Little Pieces



“Christina McDowell has written a delicious, cunningly plotted page-turner about my former home, Washington, DC. She nails all kinds of insider nostrums, lies, handbags, tacky earrings, sexual predation, private clubs, teenage nihilism, and, most revealingly, racism as only the elite can practice it at its most virulent. She’s a huge talent with a huge heart.”                                      

-LORRAINE ADAMS, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of Harbor



“Can’t get enough of the weirdness that is Washington! In this bold novel, McDowell uses a wild group of teenagers in Georgetown/Kalorama/Capitol Hill, (Yes, the places where the Obamas, the Kushners, and Jeff Bezos reside), to probe the privileged inner circle of their families, exposing the stupidity and failures of character of these dynastic swamp dwellers, nouveau-riche social climbers, womanizing, lying politicos—and nobody comes off well. The mystery surrounding the shocking murder of one family (based on a real event) deepens the darkness”

-LISA HOWORTH, author of Summerlings

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