All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen

By Keith Gessen

A unique of affection, unhappiness, wasted early life, and literary and highbrow ambition-"a wincingly humorous debut" (Vogue) Keith Gessen is a courageous and trenchant new literary voice. referred to as an award-winning translator of Russian and a booklet reviewer for guides together with the hot Yorker and the hot York instances, Gessen makes his debut with this seriously acclaimed novel, a captivating but scathing portrait of younger maturity on the beginning of the twenty-first century. the unconventional charts the lives of Sam, Mark, and Keith as they overthink their collage years, underthink their love lives, and fight to discover a semblance of adulthood, accountability, or even literary reputation.

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She was a separate woman being, whose fate and finances had diverged from his, whose problems were her own to resolve. Yet she had called him, after months of not-speaking, with accusations and recriminations. “I cannot believe I ever loved anyone,” she said, “who was so cruel. “Everything you ever told me was a lie,” she went on. ” She repeated some of them now. They were good lines. ” Sam asked, for there was an echoing on the other end. ” He drove up the next afternoon. She had been very depressed and angry, she said, after the Republicans took the White House, but she’d finally checked herself in after breaking her television set during the inauguration.

And organizing? ” To recap thus far: • Current girlfriend: Where did you put the red umbrella? • Ex-girlfriend: Who are you now? Whoever you are, are you happy? Was he a small-souled coward, not simply to have two girlfriends? “It just seems,” she was saying, “so . . endless. So serious. ” Oh. Ah. That was the Arielle touch, her temptation. Her hair was back in a ponytail, and she wore faded blue jeans and a long wool sweater, the official uniform of the mildly insane. Even in her breakdown she was perfectly conventional, a lifetime of television compressed into a few perfect gestures, and nothing could have been more devastating for a man whose life was as strange and unlikely as Sam’s, who had begun so badly to lose his way among the many desires he was supposed to desire.

I considered dipping into Weber. Occasionally the word Foucault would float from my tongue, a trial balloon. — but at the end of the year I stayed with him. We were hanging out with lacrosse players and their girlfriends, I was badly drunk three nights a week, and some of my morning classes went by unattended, went by anyway, while I lay in bed moaning. In the weeks before rooming groups were due, I made a few halfhearted sorties in the Freshman Union to some of the more articulate kids I’d met in my classes, but they were as wary as they were intelligent, their groups had congealed and they liked it that way, and anyhow I hadn’t yet learned how to talk with them: instead of Foucault the word douchebag kept escaping, like a dark secret, from my lips.

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