Very Recent History by Choire Sicha is an idiosyncratic and elegant narrative that follows a handful of young men in New York City as they navigate the ruins of money and power—in search of love and connection.
After the Wall Street crash of 2008, the richest man in town is the mayor. Billionaires shed apartments like last season’s fashions, even as the country’s economy turns inside out. The young and careless go on as they always have, getting laid and getting laid off, falling in and out of love, and trying to navigate the strange world they traffic in: the Internet, complex financial markets, credit cards, pop stars, micro-plane cheese graters, and sex apps.
A true-life fable of money, sex, and politics, Choire Sicha’s Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City turns our focus to a year in the life of a great city.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This startlingly original novel about New York City in 2009—and the personal dramas of a group of young gay professionals—was written by Choire Sicha, founder of the cultural website The Awl. With cool detachment, an all-knowing narrator observes the turmoil of random layoffs, staggering wealth disparity, and the painful dynamics of dating in the Internet age. Pulsing with dry humor and outrage, Very Recent History stitches together real statistics, stream-of-consciousness rants, and snippets of conversations and texts to reflect the disorienting experiences of characters like John, a twentysomething orphan who's drowning in debt and may or may not be falling in love. Sicha’s droll descriptions of everything from hedge funds and insurance to wedding registries and pie make it seem like he’s interpreting a bizarre alien world, but his portrayal of life in “the City” will strike a chord with anyone who's lived in a place where dreams are made and shattered.
A cofounder of the current events Web site the Awl and a former editor at Gawker offers up his first full-length piece, an offbeat hybrid of nonfiction and fiction, in which he tracks a small group of recent college grads as they navigate life in New York City in 2009. The loosely connected band of office drones and freelancers deals with quotidian demands, professional woes, money issues, and the intricacies of sex and dating, with the recession and the city's own evolution looming in the background. The soap opera storyline is frequently interrupted by digressive commentary on various aspects of the socio-political, historical, and economic factors surrounding the group, presented in a manner somewhere between grade school primer and remedial lecture. Sicha explains familiar elements of today's society from insurance to cigarette taxes to public transportation for an unknown future audience, and though his tale is refreshingly bare-bones at points, he often misses opportunities for satire. The result is a snapshot of a year in the life of a generation coming of age in a big city during tough times, but it's neither cutting nor profound, as aimless and unfocused as its characters.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Insipid and superficial
Nothing profound as the unreliable narrator shows little insight relating the stories of two dimensional characters, mostly gay men, who spend most their lives in self-absorbed sexual pursuits.