Stay Up With Hugo Best

After a decades-long run, Hugo Best’s late-night talk show gig is over, which means a certain era of American TV is over. It also means 29-year-old June Bloom—a writer’s assistant “so low totem I was subterranean”—is unemployed.

After the wrap party, she wanders out into the night to find a stage for some half-hearted standup. In the hall, after her stint, is Hugo Best. It’s Friday night. He invites her to his house for the weekend.

Hugo Best—her icon, and until a few hours ago, her boss’s boss.

Hugo Best—notoriously unfaithful to his ex-wife, notoriously caught with a girl he swears he didn’t realize was only sixteen. He is, June tells him, “problematic.”

Stay Up With Hugo Best, by Erin Somers, takes place over one long Memorial Day weekend that will test June’s fortitude, identity, and liver.

You might think you know the terms of their weekend together, and you might be right. But it’s more complicated than that. It seems true—first unspoken, then dragged into the light—that an interlude might be currency that Jane could cash out for career help. But the choice is also up to her. Does she want this? Does she want to be that kind of person? And how exactly would she spend this currency?

Is Hugo predatory or lonely, too far around the bend from normal life to find anyone but those who want something from him?

The weekend is full of unanticipated guest stars, from the house staff to a shock jock to Stay Up With Hugo Best’s longtime producer, Laura, who has some choice words for June.

And when June meets Hugo’s son, Spencer, they have their own strange subcurrent between them. Something else is in danger of happening here, amid the piles of unwashed clothes in his bedroom. Spencer is seventeen. June may be prey, or she may be a predator—or she may make it out of this drunken, funny, dark, melancholic weekend as someone else entirely. PLEASE READ

Stay Up With Hugo Best by Erin Somers, from Scribner