Best known for his Magicians fantasy series, Lev Grossman began his literary career writing about the real world in Warp, his first novel, published in 1997. Now reissued, it's short and fueled by personal and professional post-college stagnation. It doesn't tell a story so much as drop into a couple days in the lives of Boston 20-somethings trying to figure out what's next. It ends without them having come to an answer, but it's an apt portrayal of that stage of life.

After graduating from Harvard, Hollis Kessler is quickly eating through his meager savings and working random temp jobs. He doesn't really want a career, but accepts that he's going to have to join the professional class soon. That tension underlies most of his interactions with the friends who flit in and out of his life: everyone knows what's expected of them now that they've become adults, but no one seems that interested in meeting those expectations.

There's a story about an attempt to crash in someone's house over a weekend, and a girl named Xanthe keeps appearing in Hollis's life without rhyme or reason, but these are more diversions than real plots. The girl and the "house sitting" are opportunities to explore Hollis's apathy and borderline depression, using the unusual to point out how normal his feelings toward maturity are. In the introduction to this reprint, Grossman says he hoped to capture the feeling of listlessness many people have in their 20s. He certainly did. --Noah Cruickshank, marketing and development manager, Open Books, Chicago, Ill.

Powered by: Xtenit