First World Problems in an Age of Terrorism and Ennui

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There's Kate, an idealistic socialite who moves to New York and becomes an artist when her husband, a movie producer, signs to do a schlocky film. And there's Albert, a surfer turned artist, who worries about owning too many houses. As the narrator of "Weird August" says, "The thing about me and my friends, though, is that we are the types who are such gluttons for narcissistic fantasies being, most of us, born with that kind of charismatic shimmer that attracts a lot of what we used to call 'fun,' before fun became in poor taste that we began our lives knowing that sinking into gracious old age, being happy about grandchildren, planning family dinners, being proud we put children through college or had children not in jail -- these are not the things we meant by 'life' when we started.

I mean, they may have happened, but not on purpose. View all New York Times newsletters. Indeed, "fun" is the operative word in these people's lives: drugs, alcohol and rock-and-roll, or in the more cautious 90's, a quick infusion of junk food or a luxurious tumble in bed. A surfing-crazed movie producer signs up to do a terrible thriller called "Mighty Mo" because it will be shooting in the Philippines, and he's heard the place has terrific waves. A former actress turned housewife jettisons the "English country life" she constructed for her family in West Hollywood to take up with a dangerous freeloader named Wolf.

A writer spends four days in bed at the Chateau Marmont with her boyfriend, oblivious to the fact that last year's riots have turned Los Angeles into a war zone.

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It's tiresome, reading a whole book of stories about ninnies as self-absorbed and self-deluded as this, and some of the shorter tales in this volume are little more than depressing sketches of narcissists in extremis. What redeems the better stories in "Black Swans" is the ironic tilt Ms. Babitz lends them and her gift for the odd, unexpected observation.

Babitz is adept at drawing the volatile temperature chart of a love affair, and she's nimble, too, at capturing her characters' taste for self-dramatization and hyperbole: confronted by an old lover on an escalator, one of her narrators observes, "I was stuck in this later-day Piranesi tableau, my past a wreckage behind me, ruined like Western civilization itself, and all I could do was face the music.

In the end, "Black Swans" leaves the reader impressed with the author's talents and wishing she would try writing about a less self-absorbed group of people -- or maybe take a vacation from L. Please upgrade your browser. See next articles. View page in TimesMachine.

The Age of Frustration

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Meeting Akbar

In addition, the publisher was nice enough to donate some server space for me to post these cases, so if you won't do it for me, do it for them! I've got two novels in print so far, although neither really has anything to do with law school: The third novel I wrote is pretentiously titled First World Problems in an Age of Terrorism and Ennui. I guess it is classified as 'contemporary literary fiction,' which basically means that it's not sci-fi or fantasy or romance, or any genre like that.

It's just about regular people living in the regular world. In this case the regular world is Washington DC at the dawn of the third millennium aka the year It's basically about people who don't deal very well with the fact that their lives are pretty comfortable and easy and they want more out of life, but don't know how to ask for it. Which is sort of where I was in life when I wrote it. I think it's a pretty good book.

First World Problems in an Age of Terrorism and Ennui -

But don't take my word for it, listen to what the publisher says about it. He lashes out in a passive-aggressive way by maintaining a blog filled with tips "terrorists and anarchists" can use in their attacks, but the blog receives few hits or feedback, no matter how incendiary the posts.

He attends the WTO demonstration hoping to experience a riot, but is disappointed at how artificial and tame political protests have become in the new millennium. He dreams of a major attack, just to shake up the status quo.

Connecting Trump’s Rhetoric to Domestic Terrorism - Between the Scenes - The Daily Show

The first novel I wrote is called City of Pillars and it's a sort of conspiracy-laden adventure novel. I like to tell people that it's a cross between Fight Club and DaVinci Code, which usually gets weird looks and closed wallets. It's a pretty dark novel that I wrote when I was pretty depressed and listening to the Art Bell show at work all day long.

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But don't take my word for it, listen to what the publisher says about it:. City of Pillars Men in Black An Ancient Manuscript A City that Isn't Supposed to Exist No matter how paranoid you are, you're not paranoid enough! An innocent man accidentally comes into possession of an ancient text. Soon he is being chased to the ends of the earth, pursued by shadowy forces who seem intent on getting the book back and eliminating all evidence of it.

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  5. As he attempts to stay alive and translate the mysterious document he uncovers horrific and ominous details of an ancient, worldwide conspiracy. But the question is, can he find the answers he seeks before he loses everything? City of Pillars charts one man's journey into madness, past the narrow confines of Western notions of reason and scientific reality.