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Triburbiaby Karl Taro Greenfeld
Synopses & Reviews
Thrown together by circumstance, a group of fathers—a sound engineer, a sculptor, a film producer, a chef, a memoirist, a gangster—meets each morning at a local Tribeca coffee shop after walking their children to their exclusive school.
The sound engineer looks uncomfortably like the guy on the sex offender posters strewn around the neighborhood; the memoirist is on the verge of being outed for fabricating his experiences; and the narcissistic chef puts his quest for the perfect quail-egg frittata before his children's well-being. Over the course of a single school year, we are privy to their secrets, passions, and hopes, and learn of their dreams deferred as they confront harsh realities about ambition, wealth, and sex. And we meet their wives and children, who together with these men are discovering the hard truths and welcome surprises that accompany family, marriage, and real estate at midlife.
Fascinatingly layered and multidimensional, these linked stories, arranged like puzzle pieces, create a powerful portrait of unlikely friends and their neighborhood in transition. Striking chords that range from haunting and heartbreaking to darkly funny and deeply poignant, Triburbia marks the start of a brilliant literary career.
"In this absorbing first novel, Greenfeld (Boy Alone, a memoir) brings to life the capacious lofts, self-involved chefs, and occasional rent control holdouts of Manhattan's affluent TriBeCa neighborhood (home to Robert De Niro and Jay-Z, among other celebs). Each chapter (titled by local addresses, such as 145 Greenwich, 65 Hudson, and 47 Lispenard) is told from the perspective of a different local character, from the fabulously affluent to the rent control holdouts. Their lives intersect and overlap because their children attend the same school, they're sleeping with one another's spouses, or, in Sadie's case, because she's the babysitter or, in Cooper's case, because she's queen of the fourth grade. Greenfeld's chameleon-like ease for shifting characters refracts through the distinct language of thought, the emotional underpinnings of choices made, and the ways in which every life feels both unique and familiar, and his female characters are as authentic, if not more so, than the men. The result is a webby world in which details blend, repeat, and sometimes fade, exactly like running into a neighbor at the corner deli and not quite remembering who his brother is or with whom he may have had an affair. Early on, the book feels precariously provincial — beholden to the local jargon of real estate, gourmet food, and the distinctively insane obstacles of New York City public schools. And empathy for rich people, no matter how flawed, can be a tough sell these days. Ultimately, though, Greenfeld wields his critiques, humor, and observations to create a compelling little universe that will matter even to outsiders who don't know that Lispenard Street will never be as glamorous as Greenwhich St. Agent: Billy Kingsland, Kuhn Projects." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of the acclaimed memoir Boy Alone, delivers a stylish first novel about a group of families in a fashionable Manhattan neighborhood wrestling with the dark realities of their lives.
A book reminiscent of Tom Rachmans The Imperfectionists and Jennifer Egans A Visit from the Goon Squad, Greenfelds Triburbia is a bold literary tour de force in which the author renders New York Citys vibrant and affluent Tribeca neighborhood as a living breathing, character, much like Armistead Maupin did with San Francisco in his acclaimed Tales of the City. Winner of the PEN/O Henry Prize, Greenfeld dazzles as a debut novelist, marking the beginning of a brilliant career in long-form literary fiction.
About the Author
Karl Taro Greenfeld has been an editor and writer for Time and Sports Illustrated, among other publications. He is the author of Speed Tribes and Standard Deviations, and he lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.
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