“Finally, Millennial Heroes and Heroines in a Great American Novel.” New York Magazine

 

PRIVATE CITIZENS: A Novel

Capturing the anxious, self-aware mood of young college grads in the aughts, Private Citizens embraces the contradictions of our new century: call it a loving satire. A gleefully rude comedy of manners. Middlemarch for Millennials. The novel’s four whip-smart narrators—idealistic Cory, Internet-lurking Will, awkward Henrik, and vicious Linda—are torn between fixing the world and cannibalizing it. In boisterous prose that ricochets between humor and pain, the four estranged friends stagger through the Bay Area’s maze of tech startups, protestors, gentrifiers, karaoke bars, house parties, and cultish self-help seminars, washing up in each other’s lives once again.

A wise and searching depiction of a generation grappling with privilege and finding grace in failure, Private Citizens is as expansively intelligent as it is full of heart.

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Praise for Private Citizens: 

[Starred Review] “Witty, unsparing, and unsettlingly precise, Tulathimutte empathizes with his subjects even as he (brilliantly) skewers them. A satirical portrait of privilege and disappointment with striking emotional depth.” Kirkus

“To the dismay of olds everywhere, it may well be time that we start asking whose writing will populate the ‘millennial canon.’ Tony Tulathimutte’s debut novel, Private Citizens, is the answer to that question.” —The Village Voice

“Tulathimutte’s debut is poetic and verbose as his characters sardonically and intellectually upend every contemporary topic presented to them… an impressive start for an edgy new writer.” —Booklist

“Tony Tulathimutte’s brilliant debut novel is hilarious and heartbreaking all at once — a spot-on, satirical portrait of modern San Francisco and the privilege that inhabits it.” —Buzzfeed

“[A] hilarious portrait of youthful self-centeredness.” —The Paris Review

“This season, my literary accessory of choice is Tony Tulathimutte’s Private Citizens.” —Vogue 

“Tony Tulathimutte is a virtuoso of words… [his] writing edifies and entertains in language that’s highbrow yet unwholesome-gourmet junk food, like the cereal-milk-flavored soft-serve at Momofuku Milk Bar.” — Vice

“A funny, unflinching portrayal of young people today, nasty neuroses and all.” —Huffington Post

“Tulathimutte’s accomplished, witty, often hilarious debut transforms the Bay Area into a Balzacian microcosm that seems to contain every germ of contemporary American life and youth.” —Flavorwire

Private Citizens succeeds on the charm of its verisimilitude and the brilliance of its observations.” —SF Weekly

“Tulathimutte writes like he’s tossing firecrackers: quick and brutal bursts of language and narrative.” —KQED

Private Citizens is a serious counterargument to the mistaken notion that comic novels can’t be serious literature and that readable and entertaining work can’t also be substantial, ‘literary’ fiction. Here is a writer of ideas and character and a master of plotting and humor.” —The Masters Review

“Tulathimutte transcends the easy potshots at millennial sanctimony to capture the sincerity of his protagonists’ friendship, and their real desire and effort to be decent participants in an adult community.” —Shelf Awareness

“Tulathimutte captures both the humour and aches of this generation within the lives of digitally entrenched, sexually liberated, and politically woke 20-somethings. Kind of like spying on the inner lives of your friends.” –Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore

Blurbs

Private Citizens is a freak of literature—a novel so authentic, hilarious, elegantly plotted, and heartbreaking that I’d follow it anywhere. Tony Tulathimutte is a singular intellect with an uncanny 40/20 vision on the world.” Jennifer duBois, author of Cartwheel and A Partial History of Lost Causes

“Private Citizens is a combustible combination of acrobatic language, dead-on observations and hilarious, heartbreaking storytelling. Tulathimutte has created characters that are hard to forget—first they’ll make you want to strangle them, then you’ll end up falling in love with them.”Angela Flournoy, National Book Award finalist and author of The Turner House

“Tony Tulathimutte’s Private Citizens is my favorite kind of novel: an entrancing narrative in which important ideas lurk around the corners and behind the curtains. It enchants, entertains, sometimes makes me chew my nails in dread, sometimes makes me laugh my ass off, and never, ever doubts my intelligence.” Benjamin Hale, author of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore and The Fat Artist

“From a Here and Now that lends itself all too easily to caricature comes Private Citizens: a hilarious and gutsy novel that does the braver thing, reinvesting the world we know with humanity. Tony Tulathimutte’s satire cuts deep, but has a tender belly—and this book will leave you raw with feeling and aching at the ribs.” Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine

“A spot-on rendering of contemporary San Francisco in all its numinous hippie- hipster- techbro- burnout- activist-ridden glory. But it is the book’s style that makes it stand out. Tony Tulathimutte writes sentences with a reckless verve that reminds one of the best of David Foster Wallace. He’s a major American talent.” Karan Mahajan, author of Family Planning and The Association of Small Bombs

“Private Citizens is the product of a whirring intellect with brilliance to burn. It examines the anxieties and privileges of the Millennial Generation as well as any book I’ve come across. Reading Tony Tulathimutte is like watching a mad genius at work in his laboratory, conjuring the magnificent and the monstrous into life.” Anthony Marra, New York Times bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and The Tsar of Love and Techno 

“Rabidly intelligent, subversive, and heartfelt, Private Citizens is a comedy, a love story, and a horrifyingly adept critique of life in the digital age. With humor and grace, Tulathimutte brings clarity to characters who might otherwise be blurred in ?the whirlwind of self-performance. An important and deliciously readable book by a brilliant new voice that poignantly upends contemporary ideas of authenticity.” Jen Percy, author of Demon Camp 

“I didn’t know if I wanted to read a novel about screwed-up Stanford grads in 2007, but when it’s this caustically smart and funny, it turns out I like nothing better.” Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep and Eligible

Excerpt