ONE OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S 10 BEST DEBUT NOVELS OF THE YEAR
“In this intelligent, entertaining and elegantly written novel, James Gregor pulls off something many psychological novelists aspire to and few achieve: he convincingly captures the thinking of a character who earnestly sees himself as sympathetic, even as he behaves terribly.” —Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
“A book of deceptive ambitions, a breezy page-turner that, every few pages, slides in an observation that inspires some combination of laughter, mortification, and admiration. A witty and perceptive examination of contemporary social mores, you’ll tear through this tale of a thoroughly modern love triangle.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A charming, well-observed debut. Going Dutch is an incredibly fun read, even in its most tragic moments, when Richard is at his most infuriatingly resistant to change. I can't wait to see what Gregor writes next.” —NPR
Exhausted by dead-end forays in the gay dating scene, surrounded constantly by friends but deeply lonely in New York City, and drifting into academic abyss, twenty-something graduate student Richard has plenty of sources of anxiety. But at the forefront is his crippling writer’s block, which threatens daily to derail his graduate funding and leave Richard poor, directionless, and desperately single.
Enter Anne: his brilliant classmate who offers to “help” Richard write his papers in exchange for his company, despite Richard’s fairly obvious sexual orientation. Still, he needs her help, and it doesn’t hurt that Anne has folded Richard into her abundant lifestyle. What begins as an initially transactional relationship blooms gradually into something more complex.
But then a one-swipe-stand with an attractive, successful lawyer named Blake becomes serious, and Richard suddenly finds himself unable to detach from Anne, entangled in her web of privilege, brilliance, and, oddly, her unabashed acceptance of Richard’s flaws. As the two relationships reach points of serious commitment, Richard soon finds himself on a romantic and existential collision course—one that brings about surprising revelations.
Going Dutch is an incisive portrait of relationships in an age of digital romantic abundance, but it’s also a heartfelt and humorous exploration of love and sexuality, and a poignant meditation on the things emotionally ravenous people seek from and do to each other. James Gregor announces himself with levity, and a fresh, exciting voice in his debut.
A sardonic, procrastinating PhD candidate gets close to a classmate and questions his own sexuality in Gregor's excellent debut. Twenty-nine-year-old Richard Turner, a doctoral student studying medieval Italian literature at a New York City university, must show progress on his thesis to maintain his fellowship and living stipend. But his attention is on OkCupid, Grindr, and the "bookstore employees, painters, urban gardeners" he meets online dates he takes pleasure in relaying to his best friend, the "socially brilliant" Patrick. After being warned his funding will be revoked if he doesn't show progress, Richard turns to classmate Anne for help. Anne's "luminous intelligence" is evident (and intimidating) to everyone, including Richard. After working together and presenting their paper-in-progress at a conference, their halting academic partnership turns romantic. When a nearly forgotten online date resurfaces, Richard must think deeply about what he wants. Filled with pithy secondary characters such as Richard's haughty supervisor, Patrick's mischievous friends, and Anne's lazy activist roommates Gregor's on-the-nose depiction of New York liberal intelligentsia makes for wonderful satire: "That line from Dante came to him. There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery. There is no greater sorrow than to feel like a horny loser in Brooklyn." This marvelously witty take on dating in New York City and the blurry nature of desire announces Gregor as a fresh, electric new voice.