What’s it about?
This is the story of Evan and Julia, college sweethearts who move to New York post-graduation to start their adult life together. Yet the course of true love never did run smooth, and life starts getting in the way.
The tagline for this novel is “a New York love story” but that is only half true. Yes, it is a love story, between Evan and Julia, and between both of them and New York, but it’s also a coming of age story. Indeed, the word “bildungsroman” repeatedly sprang to mind*.
In terms of the story, I’ll admit that when I started the book, I wasn’t convinced by the prologue. The introduction is meant to pull you into the story, but I found it did the opposite. I felt like I had all I wanted from the book in those first paragraphs, and I didn’t really feel like investing more. But I’m very glad I did.
The thing I loved most about this book was the sense of place. Pitoniak has this incredible gift for conveying location in a few words. The noting of how the light plays off Manhattan windows, the sticky dust of summer in the city, the East River rippling like velvet; these all tied the action so securely to the city that it is a character in its own right. It is clear that Pitoniak has an deep affection for the city that runs beneath her words like a heartbeat.
I also identified with the graduate malaise experienced by the characters in the story. The sense that you are rudderless, that you don’t know which road you should be travelling, comes across so strongly that I wondered if the author was drawing on personal experience. Although I imagine that the terrible decisions that they make are particular to them!
Would I recommend it?
Yes, for sure. It’s very refreshing. Read if you’re a fan of Liza Klaussman, or have ever not known what to do with your life, or actually just love New York City.
The Futures by Anna Pitoniak is published by Michael Joseph priced £12.99. The paperback comes out on 17th May 2018 priced £7.99.
I received an advance copy to review thanks to NetGalley.
*Possibly the first time I’ve used that word since I graduated from my expensive English Literature degree 5 years ago. How about that cost per use, eh?