Book Review: Very Recent History by Choire Sicha

August 12, 2013

Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City by Choire Sicha is the author’s debut novel which follows a group of young, professional gay men around New York City in 2009.

  • 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061914304

Book Review Very Recent History by Choire Sicha

My rating for Very Recent History2

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format

Very Recent History by Choire Sicha (website | Facebook | @choire)is a very strange book, it’s a quick read but to be honest, I’m not really sure what it’s about. I wanted to read the book because the premise sounded very promising – a history book about 2009 written from a future perspective. I thought it would be like reading a historical novel written in 2109 or sometime around there.
I don’t really know what I got.

The story follows a bunch of gay man who can bullshit with the best of them. They rant about money, power and social media. Some of the rants are interesting, some not-so-much, all the while dealing with the instantaneous society in which we live in, one where we are all connected all the time.

The unique writing style was interesting, the attempt to write some of the paragraphs as anthropological study was something I was looking forward to, unfortunately I found the subject matter lacking. For example, the author goes out of his way to tell us what an airplane or credit is but if you live in the future, or even aliens coming in from outer-space, you’d properly have those concepts down. However, other concepts which I would think are much more fascinating for anthropologists such as why was it was a big deal the the city’s mayor ran for a third term are either treated as footnotes or unimportant.

After investing several hours in the book, reading and re-reading sections I felt cheated. The payoff simply wasn’t there at the end.

The book is charming, written with cynical humor trying to explore the darker side of humanity and capitalism. Sometimes the author captures that side, but the narrative was detached and impersonal. Mr. Sicha shows talent so I’m sure the writing style was done with with considerable attention, but it simply didn’t work for me.


After the Wall Street crash of 2008, the richest man in town is the mayor. Billionaires shed apartments like last season’s fashions, even as the country’s economy turns inside out. The young and careless go on as they always have, getting laid and getting laid off, falling in and out of love, and trying to navigate the strange world they traffic in:  the Internet, complex financial markets, credit cards, pop stars, micro-plane cheese graters, and sex apps.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format

TLC Book Tour for Very Recent History by Choire Sicha:

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free from TLC Book Tours.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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One Comment

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours August 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Darn, I’m sorry to see that this book wasn’t quite your cup of tea, but thanks for being on the tour.

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