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All the Sad Young Literary Men
by Keith Gessen
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"Pity,” said Stephen Dedalus, one of the twentieth century’s original sad young literary men, is “the feeling which arrests the mind in the presence of whatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings and unites it with the human sufferer.” Three such sufferers are featured in Keith Gessen’s first book, All the Sad Young Literary Men. Mark is a fifth-year graduate student, divorced and stranded in Syracuse attempting to finish his dissertation on the Russian Revolution. Keith is a Harvard-educated political writer, separated from his longtime girlfriend and devastated by the outcome of the 2000 election. Sam, a fledgling Boston-based freelancer, aspires to write the great Zionist novel. The three of them, as representatives of sad young literary men everywhere, are anxious, narcissistic, and often unlovable.
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