Synopses & Reviews
in the tradition of Jay McInerney, Grant Ginder’s phenomenal debut novel follows one post-collegiate idealist on his quest to fit in with—and then distance himself from—capital hill’s up-andcoming political and social elite who work hard but play harder.
• Striking debut: echoing with razor-sharp commentary, This Is How It Starts deftly captures the escapades of D.C.’s moneyed, socially and politically connected recent graduates. In this Bright Lights, Big City for the beltway, secrets are currency, the sex is bipartisan, and rules and boundaries are obsolete.
• Remarkable voice: Ginder’s writing is smart, witty, and resonates with an authenticity that will hook literary-minded readers of Brett easton ellis, Jeff Hobbs, and Joshua Ferris.
• Intriguing narrator: Taylor mack may have graduated from Princeton, but his Laguna Beach upbringing inadequately prepared him for life among D.C.’s movers and shakers. entertaining mishaps aside, Taylor soon discerns how to play the game and learns the cost of being an insider in a town that is unyielding in what it will take from a person in exchange for granting him a margin of knowledge and power.
"A University of Pennsylvania graduate moves to Washington, D.C., to work as a congressional aide in Ginder's lightly cynical Bright Lights, Big City treatment of Washington. Taylor Mark seems more interested in Late Night Shots parties (a displaced WASP social phenomenon) than political parties as he learns the ropes on Capital Hill, so the political satire feels mild compared to the social commentary Ginder offers about the Beltway social scene. Taylor begins an affair with his congressman's unhappy wife (she's a 'gorgeous disaster') and begins to doubt the character of his super-wealthy best friend, Chase Latham, son of a prominent Republican lobbyist who has a thing going with Taylor's cousin. But it seems Ginder has never met a clich he didn't want to enshrine: here, wives of wealthy husbands are catty, gay men write gossip columns, rich guys are laddish boors and their parents are absent, medicated or disapproving. Although light on plot and character development, the author does manage to expose the Hill rat lifestyle with some scalpel-sharp observations, showing that snobbery and envy are bipartisan values. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"In wickedly beautiful prose, Grant Ginder gives us a twenty-first-century morality tale that rivals any novel I've read in a long, long time. This Is How It Starts is a funny, sad, and heartfelt debut by one of America's best new writers." -- Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff
"An engaging, insightful, wonderfully self-deprecating narrator holds our hand through an insider's tour of the Capitol, and Ginder's cozy, original prose gives us a portrait of disillusionment that is at turns brutal, poignant, shocking -- and always hilarious." -- Jeff Hobbs, national bestselling author of The Tourists
Ginder's phenomenal debut novel deftly captures the escapades of D.C.'s up-and-coming political and social elite as they navigate life in the beltway.
Meet Taylor Mark: a recent college graduate who has moved to Washington, D.C., to work for John Grayson, the less-than-brilliant congressman from his home district in southern California. Inadequately prepared for life among D.C.'s movers and shakers, Taylor quickly learns that Washington is a city where deals are made behind closed doors. And there's no one better to teach him -- and Grayson -- that lesson than Chase Latham, Taylor's former college roommate and the son of a powerful lobbyist. To Chase, the Beltway's bars, restaurants, town houses, and government offices are one big, debauched playground -- a land of milk and honey where secrets are currency, the sex is bipartisan, and rules and boundaries are obsolete. It's a place where, as the stakes are raised, the line between right and wrong becomes blurred and friends' loyalties are nothing more than fragments of the past.
This Is How It Starts is an incisively written debut novel about how far one postcollegiate idealist will go to be an insider in a town that is unyielding in what it will take from a person in exchange for granting him a margin of knowledge and power.
Ginder's debut novel follows one post-collegiate idealist on his quest to fit in with--and then distance himself from--Capitol Hill's up-and-coming political and social elite who work hard but play harder.
About the Author
Grant Ginder graduated from the university of Pennsylvania, where he edited 34th Street, the school’s humor and culture magazine. He currently works as a speechwriting associate at the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C.–based think tank. He lives in New York City.