Abby's Reviews > All the Sad Young Literary Men

All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen
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's review
Sep 24, 2008

really liked it
Recommended to Abby by: The Library Shelf.
Recommended for: Nerdz
Read in August, 2008 , read count: 1

When I went to the library to rent All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, it wasn't there, and I had to get on the wait list, so I picked All the Sad Young Literary Men up off the "new fiction" shelf because:
a) The title began with the same word.
b) Gawker hates Keith Gessen.
c) I knew some sad young literary men in my days as a sad young literary lady. I guess I still know some now, but they aren't so pathetic, these ones.
d) My brother went to Harvard and was miserable. I had a feeling that the tales of Harvardian woe I knew (again, thanks to the Gawks) were in this novel would be familiar and satisfying.

Four good reasons!

Anyway, if you ever doubted (like me, that one time in like March 2006!) that the men of the liberal arts world are utterly pathetic, you need only read All the Sad Young Literary Men to be reminded. Looking back, if I recall correctly, I wished, upon finishing the novel, that Gessen had either tried harder to connect his gaggle of navel-gazers or given it up altogether. I don't understand the necessity of the cute pictures and diagrams that turn up at the start of the novel and then disappear. That I've basically forgotten my other thoughts about it a mere month after reading it can't be a good sign; that I remember the characters, their general plots and failures (because really, there are few successes), and enjoyed seeing them fail gets this one a four-star report. It's fast but dense, a little juicy, and makes me glad I'm in love with an engineer.
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