Dec 07, 11
Read from December 03 to 04, 2011
Certainly the best book to come from one of the founders of n+1, the others being Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel and All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen. Harbach said this book, his first, took him nine years to write and his effort paid off. The main characters are all very sympathetic and engaging and there's a reality to their reactions to the situations they confront that I found very realistic.
A review I read compared Harbach's voice to Franzen but I don't think there's nearly as much anger in it, which I appreciated: Harbach made his points without ever ranting and raging. Actually, I sensed that Harbach might be a big Haruki Murakami fan, but it's just a lurking suspicion due to the attention he gives to the details of everyday life (eating, dish washing, peeing, bathing).
I'd definitely recommend this book, but I'm holding back from saying I loved it. Perhaps it was too controlled an effort for that, though it seems unfair to hold its consistency against it.