A gay Gatsby, an African-American Daisy and a Nick in love with both—all Yalies in contemporary Manhattan.
Not long out of school, beautiful biracial Samona Ashley marries boring stock trader David Taylor. After the brilliant bisexual designer Ethan Hoevel seduces Samona, he moves on to David, much to the chagrin of the unnamed male narrator, who ran track with David, had a junior-year fling with Ethan and still pines for Samona—on the basis of a drunken kiss at a frat party. Further complicating this Ivy four-way are vulgar outsiders: a vengeful colleague at David’s firm, a jealous former lover of Ethan and Ethan’s envious brother. First-novelist Hobbs, a 2002 Yale graduate and protégé of Bret Easton Ellis, compulsively tells us what his characters drink, where they eat, what drugs they consume, what suits they wear and exactly how they’re whining about their bifurcated and triangulated lives. Since the book begins with an epigraph from Don DeLillo’s The Names, Hobbs may have wanted to expose transient and superficial New Yorkers as DeLillo did his callow international travelers. But this work is so ham-handed in its construction—the first-person narrator somehow knows what all the other players are saying and thinking—and so left-footed in its journalistic style that the characters would have been better represented by talking to Jerry Springer or appearing on a lame reality-TV show.