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Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (C. AD 2009) in a Large Cityby Choire Sicha
In Very Recent History, Choire Sicha, two-time editor of Gawker and cofounder of The Awl, manages to do three seemingly disparate things at once. First, he's written a kind of guide to our times for a visitor from far in the future. Our everyday life has never looked so foreign and strange. Second, he's taken readers on a gossipy, episodic romp through the romantic and erotic lives of a group of young gay men trying to find love and/or sex in New York City. Finally, and most impressively, Sicha has managed to describe, in frustrating detail, how unlivable New York has become to all but the most wealthy of its citizens. I've never read a book quite like this one. Utterly sui generis.
Synopses & Reviews
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 seasons 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.
"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. Agent: P.J. Mark, McCormick & Williams Literary Agency. (Aug. 6)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“The only book our ancestors will need…Very Recent History would start a revolution if we knew better.” Rosecrans Baldwin, author of Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down
“Sichas prose, sweet and alienating by turns, transforms a city I know well and a year I lived through into something odd and wonderful.” Clay Shirky
“Sicha vivisects the student-loan crisis, finance capital, and other plagues in the arch tone of one explaining it all to a naïf from the future — a rhetorical device that trains a floodlight on the great hypocrisies of our time.” Elle
“Very Recent History is a true story of the quiet desperation that comes from a world full of meanness — and hype. Its also an intensely political book, quietly outraged…Very Recent History takes on all the right things.” Nancy Jo Sales, author of The Bling Ring
“This book will be especially useful for the generation it describes, who are so caught up in an infinite now that they risk forgetting, and repeating, slightly less recent history.” Emily Gould, author of And the Heart Says Whatever
“Sichas position as a journalist is so impressively embedded it could be described as vascular….A Vonnegut-esque manual of the era for future aliens interested in life in that lost empire known as 21st-Century America.” Interview
“[The] most hilarious satire of the summer…a brave new amalgam of reportage and story…takes on the hyper-real gloss of an E! True Hollywood Story, narrated as though by some earnest alien sociologist from the future.” GQ
“An exemplary entry in — and in many ways a blistering critique of — a style of writing I think of as post-fiction. This writing represents a chiasmus between the real and the made-up, blurring the two into nonrecognition.” Michael H. Miller, The New York Observer
“Perhaps among a next wave of books about gay folks as full American citizens that doesn't bother walking them through schematic journeys meant to stand in for the American Gay Experience.” Salon
“Sichas detached prose…makes that year feel more absurd than any of us might remember…a fresh look at a seemingly distant world that is actually our own.” Entertainment Weekly, "Must List"
“Has the same time-capsule charm as a book many of us read and were fascinated by in elementary school, Motel of the Mysteries , in which the world was destroyed and future generations were left to wonder at objects like a toilet.” Time
“Choire Sicha's writing charms and delights, but beneath the biting wit and cynicism [he] dares to explore the darker underbelly of human avarice and capital, a book that's equal parts blindingly terrifying and smartly humorous, and one of the most clever reads I've encountered in a long time.” NPR
“You look up from the book to find that Sicha took the opportunity to screw a new pair of eyes into your sockets. With his distance and his wit, he's showed you the ridiculousness, and the impossibly high value, of everything you take for granted.” The Stranger
What will the future make of us?
In one of the greatest cities in the world, the richest man in town is the Mayor. Billionaires shed apartments like last season's fashion trends, even as the country's economy turns inside out and workers are expelled from the City's glass towers. The young and careless go on as they always have, getting laid and getting laid off, falling in and falling out of love, and trying to navigate the strange world they traffic in: the Internet, complex financial markets, credit cards, pop stars, microplane cheese graters, and sex apps.
A true-life fable of money, sex, and politics, Very Recent History follows a man named John and his circle of friends, lovers, and enemies. It is a book that pieces together our every day, as if it were already forgotten.
About the Author
Choire Sicha is the coproprietor of The Awl. A two-time editor of Gawker, he has written for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times as well as a suspiciously large number of magazines exactly one time. He lives in Brooklyn.
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