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Review: Private Citizens by Tony Tulathimutte

Private Citizens cover

About Private Citizens

Capturing the anxious, self-aware mood of young college grads in the aughts, Private Citizens embraces the contradictions of our new century—call it a loving satire, a gleefully rude comedy of manners, Middlemarch for millennials. The novel’s four whip-smart narrators—idealistic Cory, Internet-lurking Will, awkward Henrik, and vicious Linda—are torn between fixing the world and cannibalizing it. In boisterous prose that ricochets between humor and pain, Private Citizens follows the four estranged friends as they stagger through the Bay Area’s maze of tech startups, protestors, gentrifiers, karaoke bars, house parties, and cultish self-help seminars, washing up in each other’s lives once again.

A wise and searching depiction of a generation grappling with privilege and finding grace in failure, Private Citizens is as expansively intelligent as it is full of heart.

My Review

I’m not remotely close to being a millennial thus causing a disconnect with Tulathimutte’s stellar achievement.

Tulathimutte’s writing is energetic and feral. He nails satire perfectly as well as delving into his fully developed characters with what appears to be effortless. Hailing from San Francisco, a Stanford alum I enjoyed the vivid descriptions and references, ambiance is felt. If you’ve never visited San Francisco you will be more than familiar from the comfort of your preferred reading nook. The ending made up for the wide berth I felt with the book.

I had no connection with the protagonists or plot. I was a different breed in a different more prosperous time. The struggles of the millennials was plausible, their troubled pasts commonplace, their history haunting their present, their future in bondage. Sex was prevalent and a bit too bawdy for my taste, I’m from the school less is best in sexual descriptions.

Curious to explore future writings from Tulathimutte his writing is appealing worthy of at least another go, hopefully I won’t feel like an outcast.

Tony Tulathimutte APAbout Tony Tulathimutte

Tony Tulathimutte has written for VICE, AGNI, The Threepenny Review, Salon, The New Yorker online, and other publications. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Stanford University, he has received an O. Henry Award and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. He lives in New York.

Find out more about Tony at his website, and connect with him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Published by William Morrow Paperbacks (February 9, 2016)

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Filed under 2016, February, Fiction, Review