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Extended Audio Sample All the Sad Young Literary Men Audiobook, 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: April 2008 ISBN: 9781455189816
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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.”

    AudioFile

  • “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 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 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 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 Stefanie | 2/4/2014

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

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Aharon | 2/3/2014

    " If you've read Jonathan Franzen and said, "Gee, I'd love this author if only he kept the douchebag level in his writing exactly the same, but cut down radically on the quality and significance," you have totally found your book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sean | 1/23/2014

    " The first two sections are borderline great; the last section (and particularly the last two chapters) is flagrant literary masturbation. Could have been a voice of a generation if not for the final 30 pages. There are some dead-on witticisms and clever observations sprinkled throughout the book, but even those can't save itself from mediocrity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendolyn | 1/23/2014

    " Listened to audiobook version while bike commuting. Cracked me the eff up. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brooke | 1/17/2014

    " All You Sad Young Literary Men Of The World: own your ideology, get a trade, move out west, grow yourself a beard and then write me a book. Why are we so sad? A disparaging portrait of my brothers in arms. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rachel | 1/9/2014

    " Not so certain why I decided to stick this one out. A two-hundred something page jumble of characters and history. Kept waiting for a moment to be swept up in profound thought, alas it didn't come. For this, I am a disappointed young literary woman. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Malini Sridharan | 12/10/2013

    " 1 part amusing, 1 part dramatic, 3 parts deathly boring. WRT ratios, a good representation of modern life. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Merryn | 11/3/2013

    " I found this book really hard work anddespite several attempts to persevere, in the end I gave up at the halfway mark. I kept waiting for the story to develop but it never did. Sad, because the title and blurb had promised great things! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katelyn Joy | 9/30/2013

    " There were some great sentences, but overall it seemed like you need to be Russian-American, a Democrat and Jewish to fully appreciate the book. The male characters blurred together. The ending was a bit sweet and redeeming. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nina | 8/14/2013

    " Despite the hype, I found this book to be repetitive--I had a difficult time distinguishing between the voices of the three different narrators. I kept having to refer back to the table of contents/outline. Was this by design? Everything blurred together. Despite that, I did finish it quickly. . . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alan Shen | 1/19/2013

    " It's all about Syracuse! Got to love that. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 12/12/2012

    " Not a terrible read, but some of the most unlikable pathetic characters, I found myself routing for them to fail. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 11/4/2012

    " Started off good then lost momentum. Pretty okay. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joel | 7/2/2012

    " Who doesn't love depressive Gen Xers? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debbie Vaughn | 12/29/2011

    " Not as good as I thought it would be-- had heard a lot of hype about it (even in the Chronicle of Higher Education), but it did not live up to my expectations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 12/26/2011

    " Not that he would have gotten in, but this book made me very glad my son never applied to Harvard. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amie | 12/10/2011

    " I rented this from the library for my hubby. He never picked it up so I gave it a try. I don't know if I was too busy in my life during the time or what, but I was really confused by the jumping around and which character was narrating. So I gave up & returned it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Camilo | 8/11/2011

    " ...For all the hype that I heard about this book, I wasn't adequately impressed. However, an interesting point of view of the contemporary man's sorrows, delights and preoccupations. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 5/10/2011

    " Basically the whole time I read this book I was waiting to ream it on goodreads, but in the end... it's just a boring book about boring people. No harm, no foul. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristiana | 11/24/2010

    " This book started well, but suffered from me working harder than listening well. The structure was great, each chapter told from one of three men's lives. It spans the time from college to midlife and has very minimal overlap. It reads like interrelated short stories. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emily | 10/24/2010

    " I don't really feel like I got anything from this book. It was just about sad, politically minded men who didn't really know what to do with their lives or their women. And that's about it. The ending just gave me the shits, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ethan | 8/18/2010

    " Extremely well written. Not enough variation in the main characters -- though we were warned. They are all sad young literary men. I forget, what did Tolstoy say, all sad young literary men are sad in their own way.
    Still, the spent reading it felt like time well spent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marti | 7/22/2010

    " Very well written novel that appears to mirror Gessen's life experiences of being a 20-something Harvard grad trying to find purpose in life. I think Gessen is one to watch. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Al | 4/22/2010

    " A provocative mix of the personal and political, through the eyes of characters on the cusp.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Autumn | 2/23/2010

    " This book sucked. Need I say more? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Roe | 2/4/2010

    " Gessen knows a lot of big words. And he wants you to know about it. LAME. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 1/14/2010

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

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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.

About the Narrator

Scott Brick, actor, narrator, and writer, attended UCLA and spent ten years in a traveling Shakespeare company. Passionate about the spoken word, he has narrated a wide variety of audiobooks, from thrillers and science fiction to classics and nonfiction. He has recorded more than eight hundred audiobooks and won over fifty AudioFile Earphones Awards and several of the prestigious Audie Awards. He was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine and the Voice of Choice for 2016 by Booklist magazine.