L.V. Anderson of Slate reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."
As Tolstoy might say, happy couples are all alike; each unhappy couple is unhappy in its own way. Two new debut novels take a look at dysfunctional relationships and shed light on the many ways we can mistreat the people we love.
Adelle Waldman's "The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.", out July 16 from Henry Holt, tells the story of a young writer navigating the New York dating scene. Nate is a successful essayist and critic with a book coming out, but his love life is less successful than his career. Nate always seems to end up hurting the women he dates. When he meets Hannah, another writer, he thinks he’s found an intellectual equal, but communicating honestly with her proves to be a challenge.
This deft novel functions as a devastating commentary on contemporary gender relations. And Waldman's portrayal of Brooklyn's creative class rings true: if you've been to a dinner party in that borough recently, you might think she's been spying on you.
Sam Byers' "Idiopathy", out June 4 from Faber and Faber, is a darkly funny love triangle set in a slightly dystopian version of modern-day England.
Katherine, the book's acerbic, amoral antiheroine, isn't over her ex-boyfriend Daniel, and their friend Nathan has feelings for her. Byers' blow-by-blow accounts of Katherine and Daniel’s vicious arguments reveal amazing psychological insight.
Byers also has a knack for visceral imagery, and his clever send-ups of the self-indulgent inanities of middle-class liberals make "Idiopathy" an entertaining read.
Find more reviews of new books in the Slate Book Review at Slate dot com slash books.