Private Citizens

Tony Tulathimutte. Morrow, $14.99 ISBN 978-0-06-239910-6
It’s not easy being a Millennial, especially not in Tulathimutte’s debut, which traces the rising and falling fortunes of four recent Stanford grads just before the 2008 financial crisis. Cory finds herself unexpectedly at the helm of a Bay Area nonprofit that is as much about assuaging liberal guilt (perhaps especially her own) as it is about fostering genuine change. Linda and Henrik are still recovering—in their own unique and thoroughly imperfect ways—from their failed love affair, which in many ways defined their college years. And then there’s Will, whose virginity has finally been ended by his beautiful girlfriend, Vanya, whose desire for Internet fame may be getting in the way of their relationship. All four of them grapple with the gaps between their early promise and their current less-than-shining realities, and between their individual forms of privilege and the struggles of those around them. The novel’s structurally more formal first half is also the more successful; each of its lengthy chapters focuses on one of the four characters and reads almost like a well-developed short story. When their paths begin to cross again in the novel’s second half, the plots become more enmeshed but less satisfying. Nevertheless, Tulathimutte exhibits a talent for satire, and a willingness to embrace brutal reality and outright absurdity. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/2015
Release date: 02/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
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