Tuesday, January 5, 2016
The love affairs of Nathaniel P
I have just finished the Love Affairs of Nathaniel P, the book that describes life among hipsters in Brooklyn the way Tropic of Cancer described hipsters in Paris in the 30's, or On the Road described hipsters hitchhiking into the 50's. Older people, long past their own pseudo bohemian youth, like to be kept abreast of such things.
I myself have gone to Williamsburg in Brooklyn just to see what all the excitement is about. Sadly, except for two trips where I saw over priced beer and the viewings of flannel shirts in summer, Brooklyn has remained somewhat elusive to me.
With this book the window is opened to privileged young people trying to make it in the publishing industry without borrowing too much money from Mom and Dad. We now can see what dating is like in this set of people. Hip, post feminist, post modernist people who hang out in expensive dive bars and organic coffee hangouts with wi-fi connections.
Nate is the protagonist of the book. He is in the situation of being a relatively decent male in a world where he is a rarity. He is not bad looking, straight, sexually experienced, and not a total a-hole which I guess makes him a hot commodity in this particular demographic in Brooklyn.
The book is a nice read but en mi opinion, it fails at its central conceit. I don't know why but the book pries into Nate's innermost thoughts and they don't sound like a guy's thoughts to me. Frankly Nate seems to be the image that women might have of a young man's internal workings rather than the actual thoughts of a young man.
For one thing he is too callous. Women are more cynical than men. Men are romantics at heart, at least while young. Woody Allen movies show men as being more romantic than this novel. I also thought that, in the real world, Nate's parents would have paid for his health insurance.
Editor's note: Another book about millennials in Brooklyn and the academic world you might like is Bad Teeth by Dustin Long