Spoiled Brats

Simon Rich. Little, Brown, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-36862-9
In his newest story collection, humorist and screenwriter Rich (The Last Girlfriend on Earth) uses space travel, weird science, and talking animals to knock narcissistic millennials and New York high society down to size. In the futuristic "Semester Abroad," a college student studying on Saturn (where the food "tastes like straight ass") obsesses about her boyfriend while an interplanetary war decimates her host society. In "Rip," a brilliant retelling of the Rip Van Winkle fable, a 27-year-old low-life and aspiring blogger falls asleep for three years and wakes to find that his friends have become sashimi-eating yuppies. Two of the best entries feature a character named Simon Rich, usually in the role of brat-villain. "Animals" centers on a hamster whose family Rich, the "class clown" at a hoity-toity New York elementary school, has neglected to feed. And the novella-length "Sell Out" tells the story of a Polish immigrant who, after being preserved in brining fluid for a century, wakes in present-day Brooklyn and, with no help from his self-obsessed great-great-grandson Simon, becomes an overnight hipster celebrity. Throughout the collection, Rich skewers helicopter parenting, Gen-Me technophilia, and late-capitalist malaise with cruel precision. His occasionally stereotypical female characters and hackneyed resolutions are counterbalanced by on-point details—a club used to maul unhip elders, a post-genocide round of "Never Have I Ever"—that pierce the heart. Agent: Daniel Greenberg, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/10/2014
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-5750-8
Ebook - 248 pages - 978-1-78283-080-1
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-316-36865-0
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-316-36863-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-5747-8
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