Nathan Rostron's Reviews > All the Sad Young Literary Men

All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen
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's review
Aug 20, 08

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.
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Leonard You really captured what was disappointing well. What the book captured, however, was that post-baccalaureate angst and hunger that tends to make people obsessive.

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