Reviews of “Turn of the Century”
New York Post – May 23, 1999
Writer Does Good Turn
By Peter Pavia
Kurt Andersen’s debut novel, ‘Turn of the Century,’ about a power couple in the year 2000, is caustic, comedic and completely worthwhile.
Kurt Andersen’s debut novel, “Turn of the Century,” is so hip -so “edge,” as one of its TV-executive characters might exclaim – that the present cannot possibly hope to contain it. It’s set in the year 2000.
Our popular culture, bare to its most basic elements – money and celebrity – stands poised over the next century as nimbly as it has closed out this one. Hilarious and arch, caustic and yet in an odd way almost gentle, “Turn of the Century” is the closest thing contemporary literature has to offer as a cocktail party conversational imperative, and a cultural one as well.
A hyper-sharp satire of business, media and manners….At heart, in fact, this little big novel is not so much an industry satire — though it’s exceptional as that — as it is a sweet, mature love story and, more, a meditation on modern communication and miscommunication….Andersen, who has a great ear for dialogue, has an even better one for flubbed dialogue….What he has created is impressive: a well-imagined picture of an info-teeming, overmediated, very possible near future….
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Andersen is too smart, too funny, too ingenious, too talented, and has written a novel that is just too much fun for other writers to handle….Turn of the Century is more than clever. There is a chilliness that tends to pervade comic novels, especially those written by men (Tom Wolfe, Martin Amis, or their archetype, Evelyn Waugh), a dyspeptic and disdainful eye. Unlike Wolfe…Andersen has true affection for his characters, even the daffy ones. The Mactier children are culturally hot-wired, but they’re dutiful children who love each other and their parents. The couple adore each other. Imagine that…. Rare is the book that makes me laugh out loud. Turn of the Century did constantly. Andersen’s witty apercus and his protean imagination are dazzling.
The thing fairly hums with…irresistible information. In Andersen’s book, the…very funny name dropping goes to work and comes home having bagged something that looks a lot like meaning. Andersen’s masterstroke as a comic writer, though, is his positioning of his book five minutes in the future….Andersen has in fact given us a portrait of the way we live now, a portrait scarier and truer than most realist fiction.
SFsite.com (science fiction and fantasy web site)
British review excerpts
An essential modern primer on money, the media and technology…Andersen has captured lightning in a bottle.
The seminal novel of this and the next decade. What Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities did for the Eighties, Andersen’s mega-novel will do for the millennium.
Captures the zeitgeist, offering no mercy as it romps through the era of roaring Wall Street bulls and Bill Gatesís microsoft imperialism…funny, hip and relentlessly sharp. Andersen is a writer of Wolfeian style and great brio. Demonstrates his ability to explore the emotional complexity and the deep-rooted fears that propel all ambitious folk forward….admire its ambition, its deranged breadth of knowledge, and its high-voltage energy.
Independent on Sunday
Extraordinary… Nicolson Baker on additives…an exceptional book.