January 19, 2024

The Late Americans

The Late Americans
Brandon Taylor


(January 19, 2024)

A strange, sprawling Iowa Writing Program novel about a group of Iowa graduate students. Some are poets, some writers, some dance. One dancer’s tendons gave out, and now he’s finishing an MBA to his own, and his friends’, consternation. The New Yorker loved it. The Times Literary Supplement loved it. I didn’t: reading this, I found myself recalling Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life and recalling that some of the circle of friends in that story were likable, and in that story things happened.

Not much happens here. Perhaps that is the point. Everyone has sex with everyone, but no one has romance, perhaps because no one really expects this world to last. Art may be eternal, but eternity isn’t what it used to be.