Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City

Choire Sicha, Author
Choire Sicha. HarperCollins, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-191430-0
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-219899-0
Paperback - 255 pages - 978-0-06-191431-7
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A cofounder of the current events Web site the Awl and a former editor at Gawker offers up his first full-length piece, an offbeat hybrid of nonfiction and fiction, in which he tracks a small group of recent college grads as they navigate life in New York City in 2009. The loosely connected band of office drones and freelancers deals with quotidian demands, professional woes, money issues, and the intricacies of sex and dating, with the recession and the city’s own evolution looming in the background. The soap opera storyline is frequently interrupted by digressive commentary on various aspects of the socio-political, historical, and economic factors surrounding the group, presented in a manner somewhere between grade school primer and remedial lecture. Sicha explains familiar elements of today’s society—from insurance to cigarette taxes to public transportation—for an unknown future audience, and though his tale is refreshingly bare-bones at points, he often misses opportunities for satire. The result is a snapshot of a year in the life of a generation coming of age in a big city during tough times, but it’s neither cutting nor profound, as aimless and unfocused as its characters. Agent: P.J. Mark, McCormick & Williams Literary Agency. (Aug. 6)
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