Private Citizens

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Pages: 384
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

Private Citizens

‘The first great millennial novel’ New York Magazine.

Tony Tulathimutte

A comic portrait of privilege, ambition and friendship in millennial San Francisco

The Book


‘A brilliant novel - whip smart, hilarious and entirely engrossing' Emma Cline, author of The Girls

'Tulathimutte is a big talent' Jonathan Franzen, author of Purity

'An eloquent social novel bristling with logic' Nell Zink, Financial Times, Best Summer Books of 2016


From a brilliant new literary talent comes a sweeping comic portrait of privilege, ambition and friendship - dubbed ‘the first great millennial novel' by New York Magazine.

Capturing the anxious, self-aware mood of young college grads in the noughties, Private Citizens embraces the contradictions of our new century. Call it a gleefully rude comedy of manners, a Middlemarch for Millennials. The novel's four whip-smart narrators - idealistic Cory, Internet-lurking Will, awkward Henrik, and vicious Linda - are torn between fixing the world and cannibalizing it. In boisterous prose that ricochets between humour and pain, the four estranged friends stagger through the Bay Area's maze of tech start-ups, protestors, gentrifiers, karaoke bars, house parties and cultish self-help seminars, washing up in each other's lives once again.

A wise and searching depiction of a generation grappling with privilege and finding grace in failure, Private Citizens is as expansively intelligent as it is full of heart.

Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 384
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Tony Tulathimutte's novel Private Citizens was called "the first great millennial novel” by New York Magazine. A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he has written for The New York Times, VICE, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Believer, N+1, Playboy, The Paris Review, The LA Review of Books, and others. His work has received an O. Henry Award and a Macdowell Fellowship, and he's appeared as a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers. He lives in New York.




‘At its very best it strikes one as a particularly savage episode of Seinfeld.’

- Big Issue

‘Although the four protagonists don't shower themselves in glory, their creator certainly does.'

- Independent

‘A sketch of the way US millennials, and the only slightly older men and women who employ them, live now'.

- Spectator

‘Tulathimutte's scalpel of cultural dissection is very sharp indeed…[his] verve and linguistic agility reminiscent of the best literary comic performers…Hilarious and relentlessly uncompromising…he has everything it takes to become a great American novelist'.

- Literary Review

‘A brilliant novel - whip smart, hilarious and entirely engrossing.'

- Emma Cline, author of The Girls

‘In this lovingly portrayed hell, the body is excess baggage, and selfdoubt poses dangers so grave only a writer would risk it. It's not a satire, but an eloquent social novel bristling with logic.' 

- Nell Zink, Financial Times, Best Summer Books of 2016

‘The quality and confidence of Tulathimutte's writing is evident throughout the book…Private Citizens works so well because there's a realness to everything the characters experience. This is not parody or satire, just the sometimes grotesque behaviour of millennials under a searing spotlight'.

- The Irish Times

‘[A] thrillingly sceptical vision of the noughties'.

- Herald

‘If Evelyn Waugh and Tom Wolfe had a baby, one who wrote sensibly about the subset of people that Dave Eggers has written about whimsically, that baby would probably be Tony Tulathimutte and the book would be Private Citizens…A hilarious portrait of youthful self-centeredness.' 

- The Paris Review

'Tulathimutte is a big talent.'

- Jonathan Franzen, author of Purity and Freedom

‘My literary accessory of choice is Tony Tulathimutte's Private Citizens.

- Vogue

‘I didn't know if I wanted to read a novel about screwed-up Stanford grads in 2007, but when it's this caustically smart and funny, it turns out I like nothing better.' 

- Entertainment Weekly

‘Brilliant…hilarious and heartbreaking all at once.'

- BuzzFeed

‘My favourite kind of novel: an entrancing narrative in which important ideas lurk around the corners and behind the curtains. It enchants, entertains, sometimes makes me chew my nails in dread, sometimes makes me laugh my ass off, and never, ever doubts my intelligence.'

- Benjamin Hale, author of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

‘Tony Tulathimutte is a virtuoso of words… [his] writing edifies  and entertains in language that's highbrow yet unwholesome- gourmet junk food, like the cereal-milk-flavored soft-serve at  Momofuku Milk Bar.'


Private Citizens is a combustible combination of acrobatic language, dead-on observations and hilarious, heartbreaking storytelling. Tulathimutte has created characters that are hard to forget - first they'll make you want to strangle them, then you'll end up falling in love with them.'

- Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House

‘A spot-on rendering of contemporary San Francisco in all its numinous hippie- hipster- techbro- burnout- activist-ridden glory. But it is the book's style that makes it stand out. Tony Tulathimutte writes sentences with a reckless verve that reminds one of the best of David Foster Wallace. He's a major American talent.'

- Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs

‘Finally, Millennial Heroes and Heroines in a Great American Novel.' 

- New York Magazine

‘The novel is as funny as it is dark, and things get very dark, indeed.'

- Vulture

'Tulathimutte's manic, unsparing, and entertaining narrations reveal the psychic turmoil below each outwardly tranquil surface.' 

- The Atlantic

‘The product of a whirring intellect with brilliance to burn…Like watching a mad genius at work in his laboratory, conjuring the magnificent and the monstrous into life.'

- Anthony Marra, New York Times-bestselling author of The Tsar of Love and Techno

'Rabidly intelligent, subversive and heartfelt…An important  and deliciously readable book by a brilliant new voice that  poignantly upends contemporary ideas of authenticity.'

- Jennifer Percy, author of Demon Camp

‘Tulathimutte's accomplished, witty, often hilarious debut transforms the Bay Area into a Balzacian microcosm that seems to con­tain every germ of contemporary American life and youth.' 

- Flavorwire

'A hilarious and gutsy novel that does the braver thing, reinvesting the world we know with humanity. Tony Tulathimutte's satire cuts deep, but has a tender belly - and this book will leave you raw with feeling and aching at the ribs.'

- Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine

‘To the dismay of olds everywhere, it may well be time that we start asking whose writing will populate the ‘millennial canon.' Tony Tulathimutte's debut novel, Private Citizens, is the answer to that question.' 

- Village Voice

Private Citizens succeeds on the charm of its verisimilitude and the brilliance of its observations.'

- SF Weekly

‘Tulathimutte's debut is poetic and impressive start for an edgy new writer.'

- Booklist

'Tulathimutte exhibits a talent for satire, and a willingness to embrace brutal reality and outright absurdity.'

- Publishers Weekly

'Tony Tulathimutte's militantly ironic debut novel, Private Citizens, is set in San Francisco during a golden hour for upper millennials...[It] takes its title as a paradox, or as a challenge...The one thing the novel can still do better than other art forms is represent inner life...Tulathimutte's realism tends to be hysterical as in ha ha...I was riddled by Tulathimutte's ending.'

- Sarah Nicole Prickett in Bookforum

‘[A] razor-sharp debut...Witty, unsparing, and unsettlingly precise. Tulathimutte empathises with his subjects even as he (brilliantly) skew­ers them. A satirical portrait of privilege and disappointment with striking emotional depth.'

- Kirkus

‘A freak of literature - a novel so authentic, hilarious, elegantly plotted and heartbreaking I'd follow it anywhere.'

- Jennifer duBois

‘Tony Tulathimutte's brilliantly well-told story of four friends who are trying to become adults in tech-addled late-aughts San Francisco is somehow both unsparingly cruel and compassionate in equal measure. His protagonists struggle against the worst in their culture and themselves in a way that is sad, funny, and infinitely relatable.' 

- Emily Gould, author of Our Spoons Came from Woolworths

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