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Turn Of The Century Kurt Andersen

Turn Of The Century

Kurt Andersen

Published
ISBN : 9780747268000
Paperback
819 pages
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 About the Book 

Everyone will compare Kurt Andersens scathingly funny first novel to Tom Wolfes fictional debut, The Bonfire of the Vanities. Like Wolfe, Andersen is a merry terrorist, a status-attuned assassin with liquid nitrogen in his veins, a prose style withMoreEveryone will compare Kurt Andersens scathingly funny first novel to Tom Wolfes fictional debut, The Bonfire of the Vanities. Like Wolfe, Andersen is a merry terrorist, a status-attuned assassin with liquid nitrogen in his veins, a prose style with the cool purr of an Uzi, and the entire society in his crosshairs. And like the Man in Whites protagonist, Sherman McCoy, Andersens George Mactier is a master of the contemporary universe--not just Manhattan, but decadent post fin-de-siècle Hollywood, the globe-gobbling, infotainment-tainted news media, and cyberspace from Seattle to Silicon Valley to Silicon Alley. Turn of the Century opens in February 2000, in a bizarro world with just a tangy twist of futuristic extrapolation. George has parlayed a Newsweek writing job into a PBS documentary into a $16,575-a-week job as a producer at the sinister MBC network. His series, NARCS, is a veritable Cuisinart of fact and fiction in which the actors get to participate in real drug busts and get all the best lines, since theyre working from scripts. In the most notorious episode, the dealer they arrest turns out to be an Actors Equity member (thanks to Rent), so he gets union scale and a recurring role.As George stumbles into a Wolfesque calamity spiral, his wife, Lizzie Zimbalist, ascends to power. Lizzie is a brilliant software entrepreneur: her force-feedback technology alternative-history game can sense players fear. If you travel to 1792 Paris, for instance, you are designated a besotted peasant or a frightened aristocrat or an angry sansculotte according to your heart rate, blood pressure, and skin conductance- too many twitches, the wrong sort of palpitation, and youre a marquess (or marchioness) headed for the guillotine. Needless to say, her insights into the year 2000 earn her bigtime interest from Georges boss and Microsoft. Lizzie is a character at least as vivid as George, and their hectic family life is uncloying and acutely observed.Andersens plot (involving Bill Gatess potential death) has more hairy turns than the Hana Highway--read carefully or youll go off the road. But youre guaranteed a wild ride with amazing characters: an irreverent investor inspired by James Cramer, a hilarious MBC toady, Timothy Featherstone--whos as marvelous a creation as Tony Curtis in The Sweet Smell of Success--and worlds worth of social caricatures. Kurt Andersen has an uncanny ear for the way we talk now and Turn of the Century is sharp, knowing, and subversive. Lets all pray that it isnt prescient as well. --Tim Appelo