Carter Bays, the co-creator of Emmy-winning series How I Met Your Mother, is set to release his debut novel after inking a deal with Dutton Books, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
His upcoming book, The Mutual Friend, is centered on an ensemble of twenty-something New Yorkers over the course of one summer as they navigate love, loss, ambition, and faith. Bays tells the story of aspiring doctor Alice who must face a list of potential suitors vying for her attention, including toxic bachelor Bob, online ethicist Grover and registered nurse Felix. Meanwhile, Alice’s chaotic roommate Roxy finds herself caught up in a citywide sex scandal. Roxy’s tech millionaire brother Bill has a religious awakening that sends his wife into a breakdown.
The publisher describes the book as “an epic romantic comedy of manners set in New York City, exploring how technology has changed the way we connect to the world and each other.”
“I wanted to tell a story about the place we go when we’re lying in bed or sitting on the subway, the place where so much of life happens now,” Bays said. “We fall in love there, we buy socks there, we fight wars there, and we meet some pretty cute animals there too. We’re even there right now, me writing this and you reading it. I asked myself what kind of novel Jane Austen would write about all this stuff, and the result is The Mutual Friend.”
Executive Editor Maya Ziv from the Dutton imprint of Penguin Random House acquired North American rights from Daniel Greenberg at the Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency.
Ziv said, “Carter Bays knows how to tell a story and build an unforgettable cast, and in his first novel he completely captures the choreography of navigating life and love in the smartphone age. This novel is warm and relatable with characters who feel real and encounter universal themes and broader societal questions…including their relationship with their phones. We are so proud to be publishing Carter’s debut at Dutton.”