Turn of the Century

Turn of the Century

3.56 (350 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

As big as the next century, as relevant as tomorrow, a novel of real life at the giddy, anxious end of the millennium. Rocketing between Hollywood, Seattle and with occasional stopovers at home with their children in New York, tv producer George Mactier and software executive Lizzie Zimbalist are living at the sharp end of the century. Too busy to spend the money they make, too clever not to shuffle a little beneath the bright lights of their high-gloss worlds, when George's boss buys out Lizzie's company, making her his personal advisor, the couple discovers that no amount of super-modern spin can erase certain basic instincts...
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Product details

  • Paperback | 736 pages
  • 126 x 200 x 50mm | 605g
  • Headline Book Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0747268002
  • 9780747268000
  • 2,237,348

Review quote

PLAYBOY: 'An astute and irreverent observer of modern culture...Andersen's narrative is a hyperkinetic reportage that leaves no detail unnoted. Andersen knows his stuff - corporate takeovers, computer hackers, the stock market, media ratings, unthinkable menu items at fusion restaurants...' BOOKLIST: 'The dilemmas, personal and professional, that George and Lizzie confront and cope with - and which threaten to overwhelm them - during the course of the year all reflect, in big, bold ways, how most of us lead our lives these days: at the mercy of too much technology, too much information, too much time spent on meaningless tasks... Andersen has certainly caught the dreambeat of our times' PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY: 'A blockbuster fiction debut...brilliantly conceived, keenly incisive...mischievoutsly tweaks current attitudes regarding marriage, friendship, the mass media, Wall Street and the computer industry, just to name a handful of his numerous targets. With ferocious energy he also captures the essence of New York, Las Vegas, LA and Seattle... The convoluted plot boldly defies summary but it ultimately achieves a mad convergence highlighted by an intricate, hilarious plan to virtually kill Bill Gates. Andersen employs a bitingly topical humour that is always exaggerated, yet seldom actually seems inconceivable...Andersen brilliantly sustains the comic page throughout the lengthy narrative' KIRKUS REVIEWS: 'If you're not computer-literate you may miss some of the jokes but will nevertheless enjoy this gargantuan Tom Wolfeian satire on millennial hucksterism...neither Al Gore and Bill Gates will approve. The rest of us will be, as they say, richly entertained' NEW YORK TIMES (Po Bronson) 'He's managed to write a book portraying our fragmented lives that is not in itself fragmented. In other words, he's shown that the novel is flexible enough to encompass the chattering of its electronic cousins, and, in the end, to hush them... The limitation of a Zeitgeist novel is that an accurate portrait of today can quickly feel dated...yet he's [Andersen] infused it with so much inventive imagination that it transcends all that. This book's vision of next year will last a good five to seven years... At one point I didn't want the novel ever to end...' TIME MAGAZINE 'In Andersen's take on Tomorrowland, nearly every page is alive with wit, observation and sparks of inspired nastiness... It's a joy to watch him work, richocheting off everything putrid and tinny in our culture... Whatever you call the thing after post-modern, TURN OF THE CENTURY is it...it sure is fun to read' WALL ST JOURNAL: Can a book destined for every beach blanket and nightstand in the Hamptons really be any good? Can a novel that refers to Prada, Ferragamo and Manolo Blahnik be admitted (without at least a period of quarantine) into the nation of literature? And can anyone really have the temerity to believe that American culture at the turn of the century isn't beyond parody? The answer to all these questions appears to be yes, judging by the evidence of Kurt Andersen's elegant and relentless ficitonal sendup of the way we live now. The plot defies easy synopsis (there's a reason this novel is 659 pages long) but revolves around a delicious conceit... It's a savagely subversive notion...Mere synopsis doesn't begin to convey the pleasures of this smart, funny and excrutiatingly deft portrait of our age. The overwhelming wackiness of public life in this country would seem to render satire gratuitous, yet a few novelists remain unintimidated. Tom Wolfe, Martin Amis and Scott Spencer, to name just three, have cut our media-besotted social fabric to ribbons in their fiction, and now Mr Andersen has stepped up to shred the whole mess into a find, powdery dust. (TURN OF THE CENTURY invites comparision to BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES but Mr Andersen writes with more finesse.) ...offers a throughly affecting portrait of a marriage... I would be hard-pressed to name a novel that doPLAYBOY: 'An astute and irreverent observer of modern culture...Andersen's narrative is a hyperkinetic reportage that leaves no detail unnoted. Andersen knows his stuff - corporate takeovers, computer hackers, the stock market, media ratings, unthinkable menu items at fusion restaurants...' BOOKLIST: 'The dilemmas, personal and professional, that George and Lizzie confront and cope with - and which threaten to overwhelm them - during the course of the year all reflect, in big, bold ways, how most of us lead our lives these days: at the mercy of too much technology, too much information, too much time spent on meaningless tasks... Andersen has certainly caught the dreambeat of our times' PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY: 'A blockbuster fiction debut...brilliantly conceived, keenly incisive...mischievoutsly tweaks current attitudes regarding marriage, friendship, the mass media, Wall Street and the computer industry, just to name a handful of his numerous targets. With ferocious energy he also captures the essence of New York, Las Vegas, LA and Seattle... The convoluted plot boldly defies summary but it ultimately achieves a mad convergence highlighted by an intricate, hilarious plan to virtually kill Bill Gates. Andersen employs a bitingly topical humour that is always exaggerated, yet seldom actually seems inconceivable...Andersen brilliantly sustains the comic page throughout the lengthy narrative' KIRKUS REVIEWS: 'If you're not computer-literate you may miss some of the jokes but will nevertheless enjoy this gargantuan Tom Wolfeian satire on millennial hucksterism...neither Al Gore and Bill Gates will approve. The rest of us will be, as they say, richly entertained' NEW YORK TIMES (Po Bronson) 'He's managed to write a book portraying our fragmented lives that is not in itself fragmented. In other words, he's shown that the novel is flexible enough to encompass the chattering of its electronic cousins, and, in the end, to hush them... The limitation of a Zeitgeist novel is that an accurate portrait of today can quickly feel dated...yet he's [Andersen] infused it with so much inventive imagination that it transcends all that. This book's vision of next year will last a good five to seven years... At one point I didn't want the novel ever to end...' TIME MAGAZINE 'In Andersen's take on Tomorrowland, nearly every page is alive with wit, observation and sparks of inspired nastiness... It's a joy to watch him work, richocheting off everything putrid and tinny in our culture... Whatever you call the thing after post-modern, TURN OF THE CENTURY is it...it sure is fun to read' WALL ST JOURNAL: Can a book destined for every beach blanket and nightstand in the Hamptons really be any good? 'An astute and irreverent observer of modern culture...Andersen's narrative is a hyperkinetic reportage that leaves no detail unnoted. Andersen knows his stuff - corporate takeovers, computer hackers, the stock market, media ratings, unthinkable menu items at fusion restaurants...' -- PLAYBOY 'The dilemmas, personal and professional, that George and Lizzie confront and cope with - and which threaten to overwhelm them - during the course of the year all reflect, in big, bold ways, how most of us lead our lives these days: at the mercy of too much technology, too much information, too much time spent on meaningless tasks... Andersen has certainly caught the dreambeat of our times' -- BOOKLIST 'A blockbuster fiction debut...brilliantly conceived, keenly incisive...mischievoutsly tweaks current attitudes regarding marriage, friendship, the mass media, Wall Street and the computer industry, just to name a handful of his numerous targets. With ferocious energy he also captures the essence of New York, Las Vegas, LA and Seattle... The convoluted plot boldly defies summary but it ultimately achieves a mad convergence highlighted by an intricate, hilarious plan to virtually kill Bill Gates. Andersen employs a bitingly topical humour that is always exaggerated, yet seldom actually seems inconceivable...Andersen brilliantly sustains the comic page throughout the lengthy narrative' -- PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY 'If you're not computer-literate you may miss some of the jokes but will nevertheless enjoy this gargantuan Tom Wolfeian satire on millennial hucksterism...neither Al Gore and Bill Gates will approve. The rest of us will be, as they say, richly entertained' -- KIRKUS REVIEWS 'He's managed to write a book portraying our fragmented lives that is not in itself fragmented. In other words, he's shown that the novel is flexible enough to encompass the chattering of its electronic cousins, and, in the end, to hush them... The limitation of a Zeitgeist novel is that an accurate portrait of today can quickly feel dated...yet he's [Andersen] infused it with so much inventive imagination that it transcends all that. This book's vision of next year will last a good five to seven years... At one point I didn't want the novel ever to end...' -- NEW YORK TIMES (Po Bronson) 'In Andersen's take on Tomorrowland, nearly every page is alive with wit, observation and sparks of inspired nastiness... It's a joy to watch him work, richocheting off everything putrid and tinny in our culture... Whatever you call the thing after post-modern, TURN OF THE CENTURY is it...it sure is fun to read' -- TIME MAGAZINE 'the verbal cleverness of this book will surely become a reference point for unborn historians of the fin de siecle' -- TELEGRAPH 'Extraordinary... Nicholson Baker on additives...an exceptional book' -- Justin Cartwright, Independent on Sunday 'The great millennial read' -- Saturday Telegraph
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About Kurt Anderson

Kurt Andersen writes for THE NEW YORKER. He co-founded and edited SPYmagazine, America's equivalent of PRIVATE EYE and was a regular contributor to TIME MAGAZINE. He has written and produced tv, including HOW TO BE SPECIAL, starring Jerry Seinfeld.
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Rating details

350 ratings
3.56 out of 5 stars
5 20% (70)
4 35% (123)
3 31% (110)
2 8% (27)
1 6% (20)
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