Magazine September 7, 2009, Issue

This Is How It Flops

(PartTime Portraits/Unsplash)
This Is How It Starts, by Grant Ginder (Simon & Schuster, 288 pp., $14)

Grant Ginder’s lightly satirical novel about the young, wealthy political set in Washington, D.C., is a shallow, clichéd, and not particularly likable book about shallow, clichéd, and not particularly likable people. This could be the whole point; Ginder has said as much in an interview. But that hardly qualifies as a recommendation of the book, and suggests instead a failure of authorial imagination: It doesn’t take an entire novel to make the point that vacuous, self-indulgent people are vacuous and self-indulgent.

The story itself is thin: a bildungsroman plot with a main character who bears a suspicious resemblance to the author. …

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