Contemporary fiction based in New York?
July 12, 2010 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend some contemporary fiction (post-90's, preferably post 9/11) based in New York City? Stuff like The Heights or Prospect Park West. High brow, low brow, I don't care - I just want some novels inspired by current life in the city.
posted by falameufilho to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

posted by zoomorphic at 12:11 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm currently reading Lowboy, and I'm pretty sure that it's post-9/11, though it's not terribly specific at this point in my reading.

If I think of any more, I'll be sure to overwhelm you with comments.
posted by inmediasres at 12:18 PM on July 12, 2010

seconding Netherland
posted by .kobayashi. at 12:18 PM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: Lush Life by Richard Price is an excellent police procedural set on the Lower East Side. The setting is rich and the the history of the neighborhood is a sort of looming presence in the story.
posted by Phlogiston at 12:24 PM on July 12, 2010 [4 favorites]

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You by Peter Cameron -- dense, rich YA novel about fear and sexuality and the expectations that upper-class life imposes on you, with 9/11 looming very quietly in the background.
posted by Jeanne at 12:30 PM on July 12, 2010

Netherland is really good, although I didn't think it lived up to the hype. Richard Price is really good too, have heard him read an excerpt of Lush Life.
posted by angrycat at 12:38 PM on July 12, 2010

Was about to come in here and post about Lush Life too. Price is an amazing author and he really captures the feeling of the city.
posted by johnnybeggs at 12:39 PM on July 12, 2010

The Reluctant Funamentalist is a great one about how a young, successful Pakistani's life changed after 9/11. Definitely a political novel, not really about the typical person's "life in the city", but really interesting and great otherwise.
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:11 PM on July 12, 2010

The Emperor's Children by Claire Massud (this is both pre and post 9/11)

The Morningside Heights trilogy by Cheryl Mendelson

The Ballad of West 10th Street by Marjorie Kernan

The Great Man by Kate Christensen

I liked all of these a great deal.
posted by alicetiara at 1:40 PM on July 12, 2010

I enjoyed A Fortunate Age (starts in 1998, goes through - I think - 2003 or so) about a group of Oberlin grads living in Williamsburg. On a similar note, Commencement follows 4 Smith grads in the 4-5 years after college and a lot of the action takes place in NYC. I've been meaning to read Lush Life, thanks for the reminders!
posted by lunasol at 1:42 PM on July 12, 2010

I can third Netherland, though a lot of the book's appeal to me was the dead accurate description of various far flung places (I'm not much of a literary critic - I can't articulate much beyond whether I liked the book or not) - if the author didn't actually visit them, he had someone else take some damn accurate notes.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 2:35 PM on July 12, 2010

I adored Man Gone Down
posted by loosemouth at 3:25 PM on July 12, 2010

far flung places = far flung places in the outer boroughs. I still haven't learned to proofread. I came back to suggest "South by South Bronx" by Abraham Rodriguez.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 3:31 PM on July 12, 2010

far flung places = far flung places in the outer boroughs

I'm pissed he wrote about the Brooklyn parrots. I wanted to write about the Brooklyn parrots.
posted by angrycat at 4:43 PM on July 12, 2010

I liked For Kings and Planets (as I do most of Ethan Canin's writing.) It's from 1998, though.

Maybe Lethem's work, like Chronic City?
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:10 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Try this list.

Out of those, I'd recommend The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, The Hours, and Didion's memoir of her husband's death, The Year of Magical Thinking, which is, if my contemporary fiction class has taught me anything, somewhat fictional given the funny and imperfect nature of memory.
posted by dubusadus at 5:19 PM on July 12, 2010

Falling Man by Don DeLillo
posted by adamdrici at 8:43 PM on July 12, 2010

I'm pissed he wrote about the Brooklyn parrots. I wanted to write about the Brooklyn parrots.

Well there are parrots in Whitestone, Queens as well. Writing about something in Queens (or Staten Island, or the modern day Bronx as well) probably would not net nearly the same amount of cred from the literary crowd as Brooklyn or Manhattan though.

I'm back with some low brow suggestions - Charlie Huston's Hank Thompson series - Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things, and A Dangerous Man. Only Caught Stealing and A Dangerous Man have a significant amount of action in NY, but if you're reading those two, you might as well read Six Bad Things as well.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 9:26 PM on July 12, 2010

The Privileges.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:15 AM on July 15, 2010

Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel is definitely post-9/11.
posted by knile at 6:48 PM on July 15, 2010

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