Andrew's Reviews > All the Sad Young Literary Men

All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen
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's review
Nov 03, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: american-fiction, 2000s-american-fiction
Read in November, 2008

I first encountered this book through a review in Slate, and it was of relatively little interest. Cut forward to a long, dismal drive from my sister's high school graduation back to my college. It was Saturday night, the girl I'd been seeing wasn't picking up her phone, and I was staring down the Iowa blacktop listening to a long, unhappy reading from this very book on NPR. I decided to buy a 40.

And remarkably, that's how I felt whenever I read this. It was affecting, but I can say it's only affecting because of my present circumstances: 21, in a gentrifying neighborhood in a major city far from home, working temp jobs, immature, unable to hold down a relationship. On the whole, the writing is pleasantly Franzen-esque, but there is very little progression, just some miserable sketches of people who remind me of people I know. If you're a sad young literary man, then go for it. Otherwise, I'm not sure how much you'll get out of it.
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