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Extended Audio Sample All the Sad Young Literary Men, by Keith Gessen Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (949 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Keith Gessen Narrator: Scott Brick Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A charming yet scathing portrait of young adulthood at the opening of the twenty-first century, All the Sad Young Literary Men charts the lives of Sam, Mark, and Keith as they overthink their college years, underthink their love lives, and struggle through the encouragement of the women who love and despise them to find a semblance of maturity, responsibility, and even literary fame.

Heartbroken in his university town, Mark tries to focus his attention on his graduate work concerning Russian revolt, only to be lured again and again to the free pornography on the library computers. Sam binds himself to the task of crafting “the first great Zionist epic” even though he speaks no Hebrew, has never visited Israel, and is not a practicing Jew. Keith, thwarted by inherited notions of greatness and memories of his broken family, finds solace in the arms of the selfless woman who most reminds him of his past.

At every turn, at each character’s misstep, All the Sad Young Literary Men radiates with comedic warmth and biting honesty and signals the arrival of a brave and trenchant new writer.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The ambition of young literary Americans is a kind of trench warfare, and Gessen, an editor of the magazine n+1, proves himself not only a capable observer but a natural novelist with a warm gun.”

    New York Times

  • “A convincing portrait of bright young men with vague literary ambitions who can't quite work up the energy to pull the trigger on their futures…[Gessen] extracts a full measure of fun from the proclivity of these smart young guys to intellectualize everything to death…[He] has a deft satiric touch and a nice feel for irony.”

    Washington Post

  • “What's so absurdly fascinating and scruffily endearing about Gessen's debut is how it makes white-male privilege read like identity fiction.”

    Barnes & Noble Review

  • “There's plenty of irony on tap and more than a few cutting lines.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Scott Brick captures the vocal personas of the main characters while also delivering a solid narration that emphasizes moments of significance and irony.”


  • “Hilarious...Gessen still manages to tackle serious political subjects while poking fun at how seriously his characters take themselves. Strongly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “Gessen strikes a marvelous balance between pitilessness and affection toward these young men and manages the impressive feat of being simultaneously savage and tender. A fiercely intelligent, darkly funny first novel.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by medi | 2/7/2014

    " well, he captures "callow" well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Synthia | 2/6/2014

    " It started off well, with a lot of humor. Once it hit the middle, it slowed down. It was all about how inept the characters were with women and the Mensheviks. The ending wasn't good either. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ryan | 2/5/2014

    " Yeah, some really nice moments in this. Not a masterpiece, but definitely worth a few hours of your time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Stefanie | 2/4/2014

    " Despite positive endorsements, i found this book disappointing. The three main characters were virtually indistinguishable. "

  • > Show All
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About the Author
Author Keith Gessen

Keith Gessen was born in Russia and raised in Massachusetts. A contributor to the New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, and New York magazine, he is also a founding editor of the literary magazine n + 1. In 2008, he was selected as a winner of the National Book Foundations “5 Under 35” award for someone whose work is particularly promising and exciting and is among the best of a new generation of writers under the age of thirty-five. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.