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All the Sad Young Literary Men (2008)
by Keith Gessen
A charming yet scathing portrait of young adulthood at the opening of the twenty-first century, All the sad young literary men charts the lives of Sam, Mark, and Keith as they overthink their college years, underthink their love lives, and struggle through the encouragement of the women who love and despise them to find a semblance of maturity, responsibility, and even literary fame. Heartbroken in his university town, Mark tries to focus his attention on his graduate work concerning Russian revolt, only to be lured again and again to the free pornography on the library computers. Sam binds himself to the task of crafting "the first great Zionist epic" even though he speaks no Hebrew, has never visited Israel, and is not a practicing Jew. Keith, thwarted by inherited notions of greatness and memories of his broken family, finds solace in the arms of the selfless woman who most reminds him of his past. At every turn, at each character's misstep, All the sad young literary men radiates with comedic warmth and biting honesty and signals the arrival of a brave and trenchant new writer.
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