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You Don’t Have To Live Like This

Benjamin Markovits

From one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists comes a darkly comic and brutally insightful vision of contemporary America in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Format
Paperback
ISBN
9780571313402
Date Published
02.07.2015
Delivery
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Summary

From one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists comes a darkly comic and brutally insightful vision of contemporary America in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Ten years out of Yale, with an extra degree from Oxford, and all Greg Marnier has to show for it is a rambling academic career that has landed him in Aberystwyth. At his college reunion, jetlagged and drunk, he runs into an old friend who offers him an extraordinary way out.

Robert James, wealthy and influential, a success story of the dotcom bubble, wants to become a political player. His plan: to buy up several abandoned neighbourhoods in Detroit – the poster child for urban decline – and build a new America from their boarded-up ruins. For a small investment, Marnier can transform himself into a twenty-first-century pioneer. The realities of life on America’s urban frontier soon become apparent. For every hopeful misfit who’s come for a fresh start there’s a native Detroiter whose patch is being swallowed up by the new colonials. Marnier finds himself caught in the middle of everyone else’s battles – between local and outsider, rich and poor, black and white – until a terrible accident forces him to take sides.

Critic Reviews

A bold and brilliant take on a long-established genre ... For Markovits - as for Dickens, Joyce and Woolf before him - the city is a constantly evolving organism against which the best stories can be told.

Elizabeth Day, Prospect
Critic Reviews

Is Benjamin Markovits contemporary fiction's best kept secret? .... [his] seventh novel is as profound a meditation on contemporary America as you're likely to read this year.

Max Liu, Independent on Sunday
Critic Reviews

It is a remarkable novel ... This is fiction writing that is alive in your hand.

Irish Independent
Critic Reviews

You Don't Have to Live Like This is a very smart book, with vividly drawn characters and densely-woven themes ... at its heart is the vexatious question of race.

Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

[A] consistently impressive novel: a strikingly current portrait of tinderbox race relations that also raises enduring questions about the good life and the nature of truth ... highly recommended.

Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

Markovits articulates this irretrievably messy subject with exhilarating clarity and a good deal of bravery ... The prose delivers spare, fast-paced social realism (think Jonathan Franzen on Slimfast) and the plot is multi-stranded and gripping.

Claire Lowdon, Sunday Times
BenjaminMarkovits

Benjamin Markovits grew up in Texas, London and Berlin. He is the author of eleven novels, including Either Side of Winter, You Don’t Have To Live Like This, and Christmas in Austin. He has published essays, stories, poetry and reviews on subjects ranging from the Romantics to American sports in the Guardian, Granta, The Paris Review and The New York…

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