All the Sad Young Literary Men ePUB ñ All the MOBI

All the Sad Young Literary Men ePUB ñ All the MOBI


10 thoughts on “All the Sad Young Literary Men

  1. Emily Emily says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha No Where to even begin Sure, there were some funny lines, particularly in the His Google chapter, but for the most part this book is terribly flawed Since Gessen isn t above using charts and bulleted lists in his book, I won t refrain from using them here This book 1 has a complicated relationship with irony Late in the book, the narrator describes one character s inability to understand what another character is saying His English was good but it was not good enough to Ha ha ha ha ha No Where to even begin Sure, there were some funny lines, particularly in the His Google chapter, but for the most part this book is terribly flawed Since Gessen isn t above using charts and bulleted lists in his book, I won t refrain from using them here This book 1 has a complicated relationship with irony Late in the book, the narrator describes one character s inability to understand what another character is saying His English was good but it was not good enough to detect when Sam was kidding, or half kidding, or maybe a quarter kidding, if at all in fact very few people s English was that good, which may have indicated a problem less with their English than with Sam The same could be said of the author s writing Are we supposed to have sympathy for his characters, these unhappy narcissists who trudge through their 20s fighting off Humility We can t know, because Gessen doesn t make an effort to render these characters real The three voices are indistinguishable But oh Is their similarity Gessen s attempt at illustrating something about our generation You, the reader, must simply decide whether or not to give him the benefit of the doubt 2 attempts to address the political in a gimmicky and unsatisfying way not unlike another n 1 editor On page 211, one character muses, Ultimately these historical parallels were of limited use in figuring out your personal life Indeed And while surely it was entertaining enough for the writer to invent characters who compared their lives to historical events, the jokes got lost in the delivery 3 serves up particularly flawed female characters On page 40, in reference to a line of partially italicized dialogue from one female character, the narrator writes All the women in Sam s life italicized things Yes, and they must, because without their italics, the female characters are so flat that their motivations and intonations are indiscernible With a few exceptions explained in exposition, natch , the lithe, gorgeous ladies who populate ASYLM exist either a to merely laugh at jokes and flatter, in which case they are quickly trampled because the men become bored, or b to shame the men into impotency by being too intelligent or too beautiful.4 is just plain old poorly written, due to jarring shifts in POV, misplaced clauses, and transitions that are not at all supported by plot or character The book gets two stars because it does have one very redeeming quality Gessen has created a very accurate portrait of an era The Age of Hubris


  2. Greg Greg says:

    I wanted to like this bookBased on the five star system, I have to give it a three In reality it s a weak three and a half stars, maybe a three point four stars The book is about a three I think, I was thinking of this book about an hour after finishing it, and I was trying to think how many different main characters are there, and I had a hard time thinking if there were three or four, I m pretty sure it s three though sad young men I don t know if I d call him literary men, but as I wanted to like this bookBased on the five star system, I have to give it a three In reality it s a weak three and a half stars, maybe a three point four stars The book is about a three I think, I was thinking of this book about an hour after finishing it, and I was trying to think how many different main characters are there, and I had a hard time thinking if there were three or four, I m pretty sure it s three though sad young men I don t know if I d call him literary men, but as a title it sounds better than All the Sad Young Intellectual Men or something like that The book follows the trajectories of three men in the college early twenties grad school days They are all part of that subculture of people who believe that ideas and books matter, and who are wrapped up in the world and probably even believe that long discussions about the Russian Revolution or the social theories of Focault are important things and that they aren t living in some self imposed ghetto that is quite out of touch with the real world me being a former full time resident of this ghetto and still living on the fringes of it don t mean this in a totally condescending way, but when I think of a lot of the talk that passed as conversation when I was in grad school 1.0 I have to wonder what kind of world we really thought we were living in These bright young men are also emotional cripples who see their lives passing in front of them, and dread the idea of being alone, not living up to their potential, feeling that maybe their ideas are only idealistic baggage that won t be allowed on the next connecting flight, and for the life of them feel they are old and past their prime at the ripe old ages of say mid to late twenties All of this is familiar territory for me, fuck I could even easily put myself into any of these people s places, but with maybe a little less ambition and a healthy dose of melancholy or depression or whatever you d call it something strangely absent from any of the male main characters, but present in some of the females strange that I thought of this, since sad is in the title, and they are kind of sad, but sad in a way that doesn t seem ingrained,just sad at the state they are in, which is different I think from having a general melancholy view of the world, does this make sense Just shift away the focus from history and philosophy and add some extra self doubt and I think I could be a stand in for one of these guys Normally a book that I can in many ways relate to so heavily would garner at least four stars The feeling that something is being written for you, and that you get it where other s might just be tourists is usually a strong motivation to really like something And I tried to really like this quick and pretty enjoyable book The problem I had was that all the characters the three main story lines, or was it four all sounded the same I had a hard time sometimes remembering which story line was going on since they all kind of blended into one voice Granted only one of the main stories was told in the first person, and there werethan enough differences in the characters to tell them apart in the details, but the entire feel of all three of them was too similar Usually at the beginning of a chapter it would take me a few pages before I realized which hapless sad young man I was reading about SpoilerMaybe not much of one Actually not really.My other main problem with the book was that for almost 3 4 s of the book the characters had almost nothing to do with one another, they seemed like three different stories that were similar and took place in the same era but didn t come together Then the author decided to bring them all together with some very weak ties that felt sort of like a relationship deus ex machina I guess the three story lines needed to be brought together, but the way that it happened was kind of contrived I love books where disparate story lines are able to be brought together, and most of my favorite books use this technique, say something like Magnetic Field sor anything by Richard Powers, but in those cases it doesn t feel like the author had written a few different stories and now needs to put them together and call them a novel I guess in the end I enjoyed the book, but I think it needed to be developedboth in it s voice and in the overall structure On the plus side it s use of the history of Communism as a device to show the failings in the characters lives was a nice touch Oh, and from the beginning of the review, my objection to the title None of the characters seem especially literary as opposed to being very historical and political But I m just splitting hairs there


  3. Yulia Yulia says:

    I was actually very embarrassed asking where I could find this book in my local Borders, because I d forgotten the name of the author which sounds strangely like keep guessing and because I find the name of the book, despite its being a Fitzgerald allusion, rather regrettable So when Frank started reading it to me, we were both surprised and confused to find we actually liked the writing and found Gessen muchtalented than his n 1 co editor Benjamin Kunkel, who d previously been over h I was actually very embarrassed asking where I could find this book in my local Borders, because I d forgotten the name of the author which sounds strangely like keep guessing and because I find the name of the book, despite its being a Fitzgerald allusion, rather regrettable So when Frank started reading it to me, we were both surprised and confused to find we actually liked the writing and found Gessen muchtalented than his n 1 co editor Benjamin Kunkel, who d previously been over hyped and proven a great disappointment I foolishly had bought Kunkel s book, thinking it would be much discussed What s also unfortunate is that my brother, who attended a reading of this book, said that Gessen read aloud the passage about compulsively checking his Google ranking, which wasn t at all a representative or worthy passage to read Why couldn t Gessen have begun at the beginning Was he trying to appeal to a broader,internet oriented audience Perhaps beginning on page 1 is too predictable Well, so far, I m a third through an still very interested and not repelled by what reviewers in the press were put off by I also found it strange one reviewer made a point of disliking how the characters in this book all attended big name colleges Well, what are you supposed to do if you attended Harvard and are writing a fictionalized account of your college friends Research SUNY Binghamton or Queens College Is it a crime to write about the privileged Certainly, now I can see Gessen s affinity for Fitzgerald, if I don t in his voice As much as I hate Sam, the failed writer obsessed with his Google count, I love when he s on a date with Katie and it s taking forever to walk her home Now it was two, it was past two, and soon it would be dawn and his penis would turn into a pumpkinWhat an image But after 116 pages, it s starting to annoy meIf these characters puteffort into their work and less into being sleazy guys, they d get done and getgirls And why must everyone in this book be an aspiring or successful writer Is life broken down so easily for Gessen Some traces of Don DeLillo and Philip Roth peep in Not necessarily a good thing Why must everyone in the book be a firstgeneration Russian Jew Couldn t one be a Russian, one Jewish, and one just a random American Two thirds of the way through, all the characters seem the same to me Too many sweaty alcoholics in this My guess is Gessen is a sweaty alcoholic Spoiler Debatable Final analysis Nothing happens in this book People meet and break up, book deals are made and lost, lives occasionally cross, and some hair is lost, but no insight is gained, no probing questions considered As Frank puts it, When you lack psychological depth, you have to make mountains out of shit Let s call this a hill of shit a mountain is too great of an achievement


  4. alli alli says:

    Gessen clearly illustrates everything wrong with his generation of writers an awkward desire to be vicious, but without the skill or introspection to do any real damage It s like saying You re an unmotivated loser for living in your parents basement I ll be by Friday for dinner Your mom knows I m vegan, right Also, all the lady characters are underdeveloped and horribly irritating.


  5. Nathan Rostron Nathan Rostron says:

    The biggest disappointment about this book is not the obvious fact that Gessen could just barely fictionalize three different aspects of himself obsessive Jew, obsessive Russophile, obsessive politically minded do gooder smart person and pass them off as distinct characters, but rather that the novel about extremely ambitious yet frustrated and self defeating people is itself so unambitious At about 250 pages and with a weird skinny trim size, it s well written but not daring or adventurous The biggest disappointment about this book is not the obvious fact that Gessen could just barely fictionalize three different aspects of himself obsessive Jew, obsessive Russophile, obsessive politically minded do gooder smart person and pass them off as distinct characters, but rather that the novel about extremely ambitious yet frustrated and self defeating people is itself so unambitious At about 250 pages and with a weird skinny trim size, it s well written but not daring or adventurous or wowing Literary, sure young and male, undoubtedly but mostly sad


  6. Jan Rice Jan Rice says:

    This book s title is better than the book itself.The book was published in 2008 I d been reading reviews of the author s new book, A Terrible Country Then, paradoxically, after reading some not so glowing reviews of this one, I decided to read it The title, which I remembered having heard of, was what did it.The book has its moments It is essentially a series of connected short stories varying among the three protagonists, young males who were of college age in the late 90s when the book be This book s title is better than the book itself.The book was published in 2008 I d been reading reviews of the author s new book, A Terrible Country Then, paradoxically, after reading some not so glowing reviews of this one, I decided to read it The title, which I remembered having heard of, was what did it.The book has its moments It is essentially a series of connected short stories varying among the three protagonists, young males who were of college age in the late 90s when the book begins, and who, ten years later, are still having trouble getting off dead center Most of the stories wend their circuitous way to some little twist with a punch to it, but not enough to carry the book.The book is very male but in a way that makes it repellent rather than lovable by the female readership The book is very Jewish , and the young men are indeed ahead of their time, although in the sense of canaries in the coal mine of masculinity Presumably since I still haven t read it the protagonists are in desperate need of 12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos If the author wanted to be Roth like in his soliloquies, he s not The reason for going into the particular is that if the author goes deep enough in the right way or, maybe, is lucky , he or she can reach a rich vein of the universal But in the case of this book, that didn t happen.On the other hand, the book wasn t too long or too hard to get through.Stephan Pastis Pearls Before Swine comic strip for March 10, 2019, struck me as beautifully apropos


  7. Rifftrafft Rifftrafft says:

    as somebody who didn t get any work whatsoever until i changed my email address from post.harvard.edu to gmail.com, who can vouch for the knot of humility and vanity and realness and self mythology and narrow minded outsider resentment and self loathing one can find himself in upon graduation ultra records wouldn t even hire me, ultra fucking records i am riding hard for this book one of the best articulations of this very real problem i know i went through at school, and which i know others as somebody who didn t get any work whatsoever until i changed my email address from post.harvard.edu to gmail.com, who can vouch for the knot of humility and vanity and realness and self mythology and narrow minded outsider resentment and self loathing one can find himself in upon graduation ultra records wouldn t even hire me, ultra fucking records i am riding hard for this book one of the best articulations of this very real problem i know i went through at school, and which i know others who went to good schools had to work through as well you re white, you come fromless nada, you don t know how to dress yourself, your parents didn t go to school, and then you meet some ridiculously wealthy and probably smoking legacy admit from some manhattan day school everybody s heard about but you suddenly you re embarrassed of how little you know, how unsophisticated you are, how all your suit jackets are five sizes too big, but at the same time you want to shove it up everybody s ass Against All Odds, I Made It, I Did It On My Own Merit but so like anybody gives a shit like anybody s supposed to be impressed with that and so here are those eight years after commencement three characters getting past the fact that nobody cares, that they re owed nothing getting past the humiliation of thinking they were ever owed anything in the first place willing themselves into tragedies because that s what they ve read great young men do


  8. Lee Klein Lee Klein says:

    This book expectations for this book weren t so high thanks to so many low star reviews on here But, hey, it exceeded expectations This book it s not a novel or a collection of linked stories It s autofiction in which a consistent authorial presence presents itself in three barely characterized characters, each withsimiliarities than differences, each with girlfriends differentiated mostly by their names this surely intentional undercharacterization interestingly blurs the edges This book expectations for this book weren t so high thanks to so many low star reviews on here But, hey, it exceeded expectations This book it s not a novel or a collection of linked stories It s autofiction in which a consistent authorial presence presents itself in three barely characterized characters, each withsimiliarities than differences, each with girlfriends differentiated mostly by their names this surely intentional undercharacterization interestingly blurs the edges between author, characters, and most importantly sad young literary readers, women and men alike The chapter called Isaac Babel about a young writer s encounters with an older writer and a sense of the young writer s inevitable assumption of the older writer s role this chapter is excellent, five stars, maybe up there with Guy de Maupassant, a Babel story referenced in the chapter Toward the end, a chapter set in the West Bank dropped this one down to three stars for me I skimmed it a little But mainly I liked reading about my demographic eg, bits about dreams aspirations, girlfriends and ex girlfriends, gyms, youthful self comparisons with major past achievers, old cars, old friends marrying and makingandmoney as one scrimps solo after graduate school, online and old fashioned dating, and the sense of being too old before one s even anywhere near old Was charmed by a classy old school Fitzgeraldian spirit syntax tic a tic involving em dashes and repetitions, exactly like this sentence Charmed also by the juxtaposition of Lenin et al and the Russian Revolution etc with the characters and their situations Disregard all reviews on here that compare this to Franzen or DeLillo or that say this book lacks ideas those reviewers didn t really read the book and or haven t read DeLillo or Franzen There s not much plot, but there are tons of ideas and insights and asides, consistently rendered with intelligence and charm In a somehow non nauseating way, it s like chick lit for the n 1 set The title probably should have been All the Sad Young Male Political Journalists, but that s not a catchy enough play on the early Fitzgerald story collection Anyway, this book this book s certainly a good read for sad young and young ish literary men and, sadly perhaps, for them and them only, most likely 3 stars, rounded up because I d like to seebooks that feel real like this


  9. Kristopher Jansma Kristopher Jansma says:

    Another summer reading recommendation from my boss, he billed this one as literary candy, a description that I whole heartedly repeat to you all The strangely titled book reference to Fitzgerald, yet again follows a group of Harvard students who are swiftly cast out into the real world full of ideas and passion and nonsensical senses of self worth Gessen does a good job of making these guys lovable, even as you realize that you d probably hate any one of them if you overheard them bloviat Another summer reading recommendation from my boss, he billed this one as literary candy, a description that I whole heartedly repeat to you all The strangely titled book reference to Fitzgerald, yet again follows a group of Harvard students who are swiftly cast out into the real world full of ideas and passion and nonsensical senses of self worth Gessen does a good job of making these guys lovable, even as you realize that you d probably hate any one of them if you overheard them bloviating in a Williamsburg bar somewhere Gessen, an editor of the literary magazine n 1 knows the hipster culture and he knows that people love to hate them because they so intensely love themselves, but at the same time we re entranced the moment they offer to let us into their strange, solipsistic little worlds.It helps that all of these guys seem to have good hearts, and they wear them on their sleeves The book is ultimatelyof a collection of love stories than anything else each of the sad, young literary men are profoundly perplexed by the fairer sex in a way that reminded me happily of the naive loves in Fitzgerald s best stories Ice Palace, May Day, Babylon Revisited He also manages to thematically tie these romances into the intellectual struggles of the men One of my favorite characters is a Jewish academic who gained himself a reputation as the future author of a Great Modern Zionist Epic before he s even ever heard of Leon Uris or Exodus His problem is that he does not really understand Israel or the Palestinians at all, so whenever he begins arguing for Israel, he swiftly winds up conceding Eastern Jerusalem But the best part of this story is the way Gessen mirrors the intellectual issues with the romantic ones The character is likewise torn between two women, whom he emails frequently, even as he goes to Israel at long last to decide once and for all how he feels about the conflict and the women.Gessen also seamlessly incorporates a very modern, tech savvy world for these young intellectuals, who may simultaneously have their heads stuck in Marxist tracts One character is worried about the shrinking size of his Google how many hits come up when he searches for his own name He also keeps us rooted firmly in the new century by referencing the world politics of the past decade In one memorable scene a character proposes to his girlfriend as Al Gore is named President She accepts, feeling hope for the future, but then calls off the engagement as the Recount begins and Bush steps into power The book is incredibly clever in moments like these.Unfortunately it isn t always so clever or lively Some of the characters fall very flat in comparison to others in particular the one who speaks in the first person and seems to be a stand in for Gessen himself The book is told in chapters that alternate between the characters, so when you re away from a good one and in a bad one, it can feel irrelevant and tedious Though there are overlaps, the book also never allows these main characters to reunite, and I found myself wishing for some scene where all these sad, young, literary men would come together at some Fitzgerald convention in Park Slope, where they d tell stories of their loves and their wars


  10. Franziska Franziska says:

    I enjoyed itthan I expected thanks to all the low star ratings Confused over educated twenty somethings struggling with life and love in the 90s A least it felt real.


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All the Sad Young Literary Men ❰KINDLE❯ ❅ All the Sad Young Literary Men Author Keith Gessen – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk A charming yet scathing portrait of young adulthood at the opening of the twenty first century, All the Sad Young Literary Men charts the lives of Sam, Mark, and Keith as they overthink their college A charming yet scathing portrait of Sad Young eBook ☆ young adulthood at the opening of the twenty first century, All the Sad Young Literary Men charts the lives of Sam, Mark, and Keith as they overthink their college years, underthink their love lives, and struggle through the encouragement of the women who love and despise them to find a semblance of maturity, responsibility, and even literary fameHeartbroken in his university town, Mark tries to focus his attention on his graduate work on the Russian Revolution, only to be lured again and again to the free All the MOBI :Þ pornography on the library computers Sam binds himself to the task of crafting the first great Zionist epic even though he speaks no Hebrew, has never visited Israel, and is not a practicing Jew Keith, earnest and easily upset than the other two, is haunted by catastrophes both public and private and his inability to tell the differenceAt every turn, at each character s misstep, All the Sad Young Literary Men radiates with comedic warmth and biting honesty and signals the arrival of a brave and trenchant new writer.

  • Hardcover
  • 242 pages
  • All the Sad Young Literary Men
  • Keith Gessen
  • English
  • 07 June 2017
  • 0670018554

About the Author: Keith Gessen

Keith Gessen was born in Moscow Sad Young eBook ☆ in and came to the United States with his family when he was six years old He is a co founder of the literary magazine n and the author of the novels All the Sad Young Literary Men and A Terrible Country He has written about Russia for the London Review of Books, n , the Nation, the New Yorker, and the New York Times Magazine, and has translated or co translated several books from Russian, including Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich, There All the MOBI :Þ Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor s Baby by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, and It s No Good by Kirill Medvedev He is also the editor of the n books What We Should Have Known, Diary of a Very Bad Year Confessions of an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager, and City by City He lives in New York with his wife, the author and publisher Emily Gould, and their son, Raphy, who likes squishy candy.


10 thoughts on “All the Sad Young Literary Men

  1. Emily Emily says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha No Where to even begin Sure, there were some funny lines, particularly in the His Google chapter, but for the most part this book is terribly flawed Since Gessen isn t above using charts and bulleted lists in his book, I won t refrain from using them here This book 1 has a complicated relationship with irony Late in the book, the narrator describes one character s inability to understand what another character is saying His English was good but it was not good enough to Ha ha ha ha ha No Where to even begin Sure, there were some funny lines, particularly in the His Google chapter, but for the most part this book is terribly flawed Since Gessen isn t above using charts and bulleted lists in his book, I won t refrain from using them here This book 1 has a complicated relationship with irony Late in the book, the narrator describes one character s inability to understand what another character is saying His English was good but it was not good enough to detect when Sam was kidding, or half kidding, or maybe a quarter kidding, if at all in fact very few people s English was that good, which may have indicated a problem less with their English than with Sam The same could be said of the author s writing Are we supposed to have sympathy for his characters, these unhappy narcissists who trudge through their 20s fighting off Humility We can t know, because Gessen doesn t make an effort to render these characters real The three voices are indistinguishable But oh Is their similarity Gessen s attempt at illustrating something about our generation You, the reader, must simply decide whether or not to give him the benefit of the doubt 2 attempts to address the political in a gimmicky and unsatisfying way not unlike another n 1 editor On page 211, one character muses, Ultimately these historical parallels were of limited use in figuring out your personal life Indeed And while surely it was entertaining enough for the writer to invent characters who compared their lives to historical events, the jokes got lost in the delivery 3 serves up particularly flawed female characters On page 40, in reference to a line of partially italicized dialogue from one female character, the narrator writes All the women in Sam s life italicized things Yes, and they must, because without their italics, the female characters are so flat that their motivations and intonations are indiscernible With a few exceptions explained in exposition, natch , the lithe, gorgeous ladies who populate ASYLM exist either a to merely laugh at jokes and flatter, in which case they are quickly trampled because the men become bored, or b to shame the men into impotency by being too intelligent or too beautiful.4 is just plain old poorly written, due to jarring shifts in POV, misplaced clauses, and transitions that are not at all supported by plot or character The book gets two stars because it does have one very redeeming quality Gessen has created a very accurate portrait of an era The Age of Hubris

  2. Greg Greg says:

    I wanted to like this bookBased on the five star system, I have to give it a three In reality it s a weak three and a half stars, maybe a three point four stars The book is about a three I think, I was thinking of this book about an hour after finishing it, and I was trying to think how many different main characters are there, and I had a hard time thinking if there were three or four, I m pretty sure it s three though sad young men I don t know if I d call him literary men, but as I wanted to like this bookBased on the five star system, I have to give it a three In reality it s a weak three and a half stars, maybe a three point four stars The book is about a three I think, I was thinking of this book about an hour after finishing it, and I was trying to think how many different main characters are there, and I had a hard time thinking if there were three or four, I m pretty sure it s three though sad young men I don t know if I d call him literary men, but as a title it sounds better than All the Sad Young Intellectual Men or something like that The book follows the trajectories of three men in the college early twenties grad school days They are all part of that subculture of people who believe that ideas and books matter, and who are wrapped up in the world and probably even believe that long discussions about the Russian Revolution or the social theories of Focault are important things and that they aren t living in some self imposed ghetto that is quite out of touch with the real world me being a former full time resident of this ghetto and still living on the fringes of it don t mean this in a totally condescending way, but when I think of a lot of the talk that passed as conversation when I was in grad school 1.0 I have to wonder what kind of world we really thought we were living in These bright young men are also emotional cripples who see their lives passing in front of them, and dread the idea of being alone, not living up to their potential, feeling that maybe their ideas are only idealistic baggage that won t be allowed on the next connecting flight, and for the life of them feel they are old and past their prime at the ripe old ages of say mid to late twenties All of this is familiar territory for me, fuck I could even easily put myself into any of these people s places, but with maybe a little less ambition and a healthy dose of melancholy or depression or whatever you d call it something strangely absent from any of the male main characters, but present in some of the females strange that I thought of this, since sad is in the title, and they are kind of sad, but sad in a way that doesn t seem ingrained,just sad at the state they are in, which is different I think from having a general melancholy view of the world, does this make sense Just shift away the focus from history and philosophy and add some extra self doubt and I think I could be a stand in for one of these guys Normally a book that I can in many ways relate to so heavily would garner at least four stars The feeling that something is being written for you, and that you get it where other s might just be tourists is usually a strong motivation to really like something And I tried to really like this quick and pretty enjoyable book The problem I had was that all the characters the three main story lines, or was it four all sounded the same I had a hard time sometimes remembering which story line was going on since they all kind of blended into one voice Granted only one of the main stories was told in the first person, and there werethan enough differences in the characters to tell them apart in the details, but the entire feel of all three of them was too similar Usually at the beginning of a chapter it would take me a few pages before I realized which hapless sad young man I was reading about SpoilerMaybe not much of one Actually not really.My other main problem with the book was that for almost 3 4 s of the book the characters had almost nothing to do with one another, they seemed like three different stories that were similar and took place in the same era but didn t come together Then the author decided to bring them all together with some very weak ties that felt sort of like a relationship deus ex machina I guess the three story lines needed to be brought together, but the way that it happened was kind of contrived I love books where disparate story lines are able to be brought together, and most of my favorite books use this technique, say something like Magnetic Field sor anything by Richard Powers, but in those cases it doesn t feel like the author had written a few different stories and now needs to put them together and call them a novel I guess in the end I enjoyed the book, but I think it needed to be developedboth in it s voice and in the overall structure On the plus side it s use of the history of Communism as a device to show the failings in the characters lives was a nice touch Oh, and from the beginning of the review, my objection to the title None of the characters seem especially literary as opposed to being very historical and political But I m just splitting hairs there

  3. Yulia Yulia says:

    I was actually very embarrassed asking where I could find this book in my local Borders, because I d forgotten the name of the author which sounds strangely like keep guessing and because I find the name of the book, despite its being a Fitzgerald allusion, rather regrettable So when Frank started reading it to me, we were both surprised and confused to find we actually liked the writing and found Gessen muchtalented than his n 1 co editor Benjamin Kunkel, who d previously been over h I was actually very embarrassed asking where I could find this book in my local Borders, because I d forgotten the name of the author which sounds strangely like keep guessing and because I find the name of the book, despite its being a Fitzgerald allusion, rather regrettable So when Frank started reading it to me, we were both surprised and confused to find we actually liked the writing and found Gessen muchtalented than his n 1 co editor Benjamin Kunkel, who d previously been over hyped and proven a great disappointment I foolishly had bought Kunkel s book, thinking it would be much discussed What s also unfortunate is that my brother, who attended a reading of this book, said that Gessen read aloud the passage about compulsively checking his Google ranking, which wasn t at all a representative or worthy passage to read Why couldn t Gessen have begun at the beginning Was he trying to appeal to a broader,internet oriented audience Perhaps beginning on page 1 is too predictable Well, so far, I m a third through an still very interested and not repelled by what reviewers in the press were put off by I also found it strange one reviewer made a point of disliking how the characters in this book all attended big name colleges Well, what are you supposed to do if you attended Harvard and are writing a fictionalized account of your college friends Research SUNY Binghamton or Queens College Is it a crime to write about the privileged Certainly, now I can see Gessen s affinity for Fitzgerald, if I don t in his voice As much as I hate Sam, the failed writer obsessed with his Google count, I love when he s on a date with Katie and it s taking forever to walk her home Now it was two, it was past two, and soon it would be dawn and his penis would turn into a pumpkinWhat an image But after 116 pages, it s starting to annoy meIf these characters puteffort into their work and less into being sleazy guys, they d get done and getgirls And why must everyone in this book be an aspiring or successful writer Is life broken down so easily for Gessen Some traces of Don DeLillo and Philip Roth peep in Not necessarily a good thing Why must everyone in the book be a firstgeneration Russian Jew Couldn t one be a Russian, one Jewish, and one just a random American Two thirds of the way through, all the characters seem the same to me Too many sweaty alcoholics in this My guess is Gessen is a sweaty alcoholic Spoiler Debatable Final analysis Nothing happens in this book People meet and break up, book deals are made and lost, lives occasionally cross, and some hair is lost, but no insight is gained, no probing questions considered As Frank puts it, When you lack psychological depth, you have to make mountains out of shit Let s call this a hill of shit a mountain is too great of an achievement

  4. alli alli says:

    Gessen clearly illustrates everything wrong with his generation of writers an awkward desire to be vicious, but without the skill or introspection to do any real damage It s like saying You re an unmotivated loser for living in your parents basement I ll be by Friday for dinner Your mom knows I m vegan, right Also, all the lady characters are underdeveloped and horribly irritating.

  5. Nathan Rostron Nathan Rostron says:

    The biggest disappointment about this book is not the obvious fact that Gessen could just barely fictionalize three different aspects of himself obsessive Jew, obsessive Russophile, obsessive politically minded do gooder smart person and pass them off as distinct characters, but rather that the novel about extremely ambitious yet frustrated and self defeating people is itself so unambitious At about 250 pages and with a weird skinny trim size, it s well written but not daring or adventurous The biggest disappointment about this book is not the obvious fact that Gessen could just barely fictionalize three different aspects of himself obsessive Jew, obsessive Russophile, obsessive politically minded do gooder smart person and pass them off as distinct characters, but rather that the novel about extremely ambitious yet frustrated and self defeating people is itself so unambitious At about 250 pages and with a weird skinny trim size, it s well written but not daring or adventurous or wowing Literary, sure young and male, undoubtedly but mostly sad

  6. Jan Rice Jan Rice says:

    This book s title is better than the book itself.The book was published in 2008 I d been reading reviews of the author s new book, A Terrible Country Then, paradoxically, after reading some not so glowing reviews of this one, I decided to read it The title, which I remembered having heard of, was what did it.The book has its moments It is essentially a series of connected short stories varying among the three protagonists, young males who were of college age in the late 90s when the book be This book s title is better than the book itself.The book was published in 2008 I d been reading reviews of the author s new book, A Terrible Country Then, paradoxically, after reading some not so glowing reviews of this one, I decided to read it The title, which I remembered having heard of, was what did it.The book has its moments It is essentially a series of connected short stories varying among the three protagonists, young males who were of college age in the late 90s when the book begins, and who, ten years later, are still having trouble getting off dead center Most of the stories wend their circuitous way to some little twist with a punch to it, but not enough to carry the book.The book is very male but in a way that makes it repellent rather than lovable by the female readership The book is very Jewish , and the young men are indeed ahead of their time, although in the sense of canaries in the coal mine of masculinity Presumably since I still haven t read it the protagonists are in desperate need of 12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos If the author wanted to be Roth like in his soliloquies, he s not The reason for going into the particular is that if the author goes deep enough in the right way or, maybe, is lucky , he or she can reach a rich vein of the universal But in the case of this book, that didn t happen.On the other hand, the book wasn t too long or too hard to get through.Stephan Pastis Pearls Before Swine comic strip for March 10, 2019, struck me as beautifully apropos

  7. Rifftrafft Rifftrafft says:

    as somebody who didn t get any work whatsoever until i changed my email address from post.harvard.edu to gmail.com, who can vouch for the knot of humility and vanity and realness and self mythology and narrow minded outsider resentment and self loathing one can find himself in upon graduation ultra records wouldn t even hire me, ultra fucking records i am riding hard for this book one of the best articulations of this very real problem i know i went through at school, and which i know others as somebody who didn t get any work whatsoever until i changed my email address from post.harvard.edu to gmail.com, who can vouch for the knot of humility and vanity and realness and self mythology and narrow minded outsider resentment and self loathing one can find himself in upon graduation ultra records wouldn t even hire me, ultra fucking records i am riding hard for this book one of the best articulations of this very real problem i know i went through at school, and which i know others who went to good schools had to work through as well you re white, you come fromless nada, you don t know how to dress yourself, your parents didn t go to school, and then you meet some ridiculously wealthy and probably smoking legacy admit from some manhattan day school everybody s heard about but you suddenly you re embarrassed of how little you know, how unsophisticated you are, how all your suit jackets are five sizes too big, but at the same time you want to shove it up everybody s ass Against All Odds, I Made It, I Did It On My Own Merit but so like anybody gives a shit like anybody s supposed to be impressed with that and so here are those eight years after commencement three characters getting past the fact that nobody cares, that they re owed nothing getting past the humiliation of thinking they were ever owed anything in the first place willing themselves into tragedies because that s what they ve read great young men do

  8. Lee Klein Lee Klein says:

    This book expectations for this book weren t so high thanks to so many low star reviews on here But, hey, it exceeded expectations This book it s not a novel or a collection of linked stories It s autofiction in which a consistent authorial presence presents itself in three barely characterized characters, each withsimiliarities than differences, each with girlfriends differentiated mostly by their names this surely intentional undercharacterization interestingly blurs the edges This book expectations for this book weren t so high thanks to so many low star reviews on here But, hey, it exceeded expectations This book it s not a novel or a collection of linked stories It s autofiction in which a consistent authorial presence presents itself in three barely characterized characters, each withsimiliarities than differences, each with girlfriends differentiated mostly by their names this surely intentional undercharacterization interestingly blurs the edges between author, characters, and most importantly sad young literary readers, women and men alike The chapter called Isaac Babel about a young writer s encounters with an older writer and a sense of the young writer s inevitable assumption of the older writer s role this chapter is excellent, five stars, maybe up there with Guy de Maupassant, a Babel story referenced in the chapter Toward the end, a chapter set in the West Bank dropped this one down to three stars for me I skimmed it a little But mainly I liked reading about my demographic eg, bits about dreams aspirations, girlfriends and ex girlfriends, gyms, youthful self comparisons with major past achievers, old cars, old friends marrying and makingandmoney as one scrimps solo after graduate school, online and old fashioned dating, and the sense of being too old before one s even anywhere near old Was charmed by a classy old school Fitzgeraldian spirit syntax tic a tic involving em dashes and repetitions, exactly like this sentence Charmed also by the juxtaposition of Lenin et al and the Russian Revolution etc with the characters and their situations Disregard all reviews on here that compare this to Franzen or DeLillo or that say this book lacks ideas those reviewers didn t really read the book and or haven t read DeLillo or Franzen There s not much plot, but there are tons of ideas and insights and asides, consistently rendered with intelligence and charm In a somehow non nauseating way, it s like chick lit for the n 1 set The title probably should have been All the Sad Young Male Political Journalists, but that s not a catchy enough play on the early Fitzgerald story collection Anyway, this book this book s certainly a good read for sad young and young ish literary men and, sadly perhaps, for them and them only, most likely 3 stars, rounded up because I d like to seebooks that feel real like this

  9. Kristopher Jansma Kristopher Jansma says:

    Another summer reading recommendation from my boss, he billed this one as literary candy, a description that I whole heartedly repeat to you all The strangely titled book reference to Fitzgerald, yet again follows a group of Harvard students who are swiftly cast out into the real world full of ideas and passion and nonsensical senses of self worth Gessen does a good job of making these guys lovable, even as you realize that you d probably hate any one of them if you overheard them bloviat Another summer reading recommendation from my boss, he billed this one as literary candy, a description that I whole heartedly repeat to you all The strangely titled book reference to Fitzgerald, yet again follows a group of Harvard students who are swiftly cast out into the real world full of ideas and passion and nonsensical senses of self worth Gessen does a good job of making these guys lovable, even as you realize that you d probably hate any one of them if you overheard them bloviating in a Williamsburg bar somewhere Gessen, an editor of the literary magazine n 1 knows the hipster culture and he knows that people love to hate them because they so intensely love themselves, but at the same time we re entranced the moment they offer to let us into their strange, solipsistic little worlds.It helps that all of these guys seem to have good hearts, and they wear them on their sleeves The book is ultimatelyof a collection of love stories than anything else each of the sad, young literary men are profoundly perplexed by the fairer sex in a way that reminded me happily of the naive loves in Fitzgerald s best stories Ice Palace, May Day, Babylon Revisited He also manages to thematically tie these romances into the intellectual struggles of the men One of my favorite characters is a Jewish academic who gained himself a reputation as the future author of a Great Modern Zionist Epic before he s even ever heard of Leon Uris or Exodus His problem is that he does not really understand Israel or the Palestinians at all, so whenever he begins arguing for Israel, he swiftly winds up conceding Eastern Jerusalem But the best part of this story is the way Gessen mirrors the intellectual issues with the romantic ones The character is likewise torn between two women, whom he emails frequently, even as he goes to Israel at long last to decide once and for all how he feels about the conflict and the women.Gessen also seamlessly incorporates a very modern, tech savvy world for these young intellectuals, who may simultaneously have their heads stuck in Marxist tracts One character is worried about the shrinking size of his Google how many hits come up when he searches for his own name He also keeps us rooted firmly in the new century by referencing the world politics of the past decade In one memorable scene a character proposes to his girlfriend as Al Gore is named President She accepts, feeling hope for the future, but then calls off the engagement as the Recount begins and Bush steps into power The book is incredibly clever in moments like these.Unfortunately it isn t always so clever or lively Some of the characters fall very flat in comparison to others in particular the one who speaks in the first person and seems to be a stand in for Gessen himself The book is told in chapters that alternate between the characters, so when you re away from a good one and in a bad one, it can feel irrelevant and tedious Though there are overlaps, the book also never allows these main characters to reunite, and I found myself wishing for some scene where all these sad, young, literary men would come together at some Fitzgerald convention in Park Slope, where they d tell stories of their loves and their wars

  10. Franziska Franziska says:

    I enjoyed itthan I expected thanks to all the low star ratings Confused over educated twenty somethings struggling with life and love in the 90s A least it felt real.

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