Early Work by Andrew Martin

Early Work

A wry, supersmart, seriocomic first novel from a prodigious talent—a Sentimental Education for our timeFor young writers of a certain temperament—if they haven’t had such notions beaten out of them by MFA programs and the Internet—the delusion persists that great writing must be sought in what W. B. Yeats once called the “foul rag and bone shop of the heart.” That’s where Peter Cunningham has been looking for inspiration for his nov...

Details Early Work

TitleEarly Work
Release DateJul 3rd, 2018
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Novels

Reviews Early Work

  • Ron Charles
    Mildly amusing story about a lazy, dissipated young writer who drinks a lot, cheats on his hard-working girlfriend and doesnt do much writing. Do we need another story like this one? Im not convinced we do. Early Work feels lax; ironic confession of immaturity isnt really all that interesting. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is sharper and wittier. Mildly amusing story about a lazy, dissipated young writer who drinks a lot, cheats on his hard-...
  • Abby
    So genuinely shallow. Reading this novel was very much like listening to a member of my generation, at once self-absorbed and somehow entirely un-self-aware, gripe for far too long at a bar. There were moments of pleasing recognition as Martin discussed my town or the trappings of Charlottesville living, but even these highlights faded; the narrator is incapable of turning off the lazy cynicism that is such a depressing hallmark of people my age....
  • Matthew Quann
    This novel, about a book-obsessed love triangle in their mid-late twenties, really hit me at the right time. With a healthy amount of self-awareness and willful lack of direction, aspiring writer Pete guides the reader through his daily activities and highly interesting love life. Though the central appeal of this novel for me was the hilariously relatable bookish rogues who leave parties to catch up on their reading, the drama of Pete, Julia, an...
  • Zia Bird
    If you want to learn more about random Millennials with underwhelming personality traits you can just go to your local coffee shop or $12 vegan donut establishment and wait around there for say, three whole minutes. What you learn might very well shock you. They listlessly repeat the word "Awesome" for no apparent reason! They're wild about the gig economy! They're seldom aware of their immediate surroundings nor the people they are actively conv...
  • Dax
    A novel about a self absorbed aspiring writer may not sound that interesting, but the dialogue is consistently intriguing and the literary references are a nice touch for us bibliophiles out there. The casual treatment of sex is refreshing- too many people take sex too seriously- but it also becomes a little tiresome after 240 pages of screwing. In an age of hypocritical moral high ground standing, this novel probably wont be popular with a large...
  • Bowen Tibbetts
    Theres nothing zeitgeist-y about this book, no #MeToo connections or disguised political commentary that will make it the Must Read Book of the Summer. If anything, its #problematic. Early Work is about a straight white guy who thinks hes smarter than everyone around and cheats on his long-term girlfriend. But I gobbled it up just the same on a flight from Boston to Milwaukee and I loved every minute of it.Our protagonist, Peter Cunningham, is a ...
  • Mark
    Nasty little book featuring utterly repellent characters. Engagingly written, I guess, but the moral vacuity of the book is a bit wearying. Also didn't appreciate the author name-dropping a lot of titles to lend a veneer of literacy - nice try, chump.
  • Jay Jolles
    Man this book was a trip. I felt simultaneously too old and too young to be reading it, and the characterization of Peter, Leslie, and Julia just reinforced this sentiment. What I liked about this book was it's breeziness, Martin can turn a phrase pretty deftly, and his ability to write characters that are somehow people you know and people you hate while also being people you love is such a real, real feel. Ultimately, there's not much at stake ...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    Andrew Martin has hit it out of the park with this perceptive, breezy, at times hilarious, portrait of the generation that's come to be known as Millennials. Their self absorption is apparent, but mitigated by Peter's experiences when he teaches creative writing at a local women's prison (knowing someone who has worked in prisons as a therapist, I read these parts with great interest, and can't help but wonder if Martin himself has had this exper...
  • Nicola
    Death by disaffection.
  • Infada Spain
    ...perhaps it's closer to 2,5. Still, I'm not so sure, hard to say!
  • David
    The latest in what has become a clear type of first novel from young, American, usually NYC-based authors (though this only is thankfully set somewhere else): witty, sharply observed romance plots about late-twenty- and thirty-something intellectuals and literary types trying to make their way, half-heartedly. Some are observant about class and the economic conditions of end-of-the-century capitalism, others about gender relations, but all of the...
  • Sarah
    I was viciously frustrated by this book. Every night, after reading 70 or so pages, I would declare myself done forever, so over it... and then I would pick it right back up the next night to see what was happening. It was compelling, and interesting, but I hated every one of the characters, except maybe Kenny. I would be friends with Kenny.
  • Shadoshard
    You know those books that pisses you off because you know much better writers with more compelling stories and better writing skills that should have been published instead? This is one of those books published purely because it can be marketed to a particular segment by aiming it at them and telling them it's about them.The characters were small and petty, the humor was bleak and a lot of literary name dropping made this book very hard to swallo...
  • Zachary
    It's really, really good. It's not clear how he did it, which is interesting in itself. Something about voice, I guess? Anyway, I read it in two sittings, and I'm very rarely pleased.I notice that many of the negatively-inclined reviewers, in the full flower of their critical brilliance, point out that it's about young people from MFA programs and various other flavors of grad school and that some of them have sometimes lived in Brooklyn. Just so...
  • James Murphy
    On p211 a character comments, "It's your early work, man. It's allowed to be terrible. I promise I'll still like you even if it's garbage. Maybe I'll like you even more! Some chicks dig bad writers." So we learn that early work can refer to one's writing as well as one's character. Both become central in the novel.I came to Early Work through Ann Patchett. On one of those end-of-the-year panels where writers and critics discuss their favorite boo...
  • Bud Smith
    Early Work is all about free will, even going so far as to spell it out in a snippet of dialogue late in the novel saying that God gave mankind the freedom of choice so it could be pulled into temptation and once down that path it could damn itself. I've been reading a lot of books with unlikeable characters, Early work just so happens to be about the kind of unlikeable characters I run into at dinner parties, people who cannot do much of anythin...
  • Rose
    At first Andrew Martins Early Work reduced me to an anti-millennial funk. These people and their incessant pop culture and literary references and their ironic hipster talk. Could they be more shallow and aimless? But after a while I recognized my reaction for what it was pure generational envy and got caught up in this milieu of clever, semi-self-aware people in which all the bartenders have MFAs and even the most incidental character -- a tic...
  • Jacqueline
    4.5 stars, a soft 5. I guess I should give more books with mixed reviews on GR more of a chance. It's sort of surprising and yet not really that I enjoyed this as much as I did. It's not for everyone and I wouldn't recommend it to all of my friends, but it was for me. It is about a privileged white dude who just drinks and smokes the day away and makes ironic hipster comments and there's a lot of literary and music references for a certain type o...
  • Emi Bevacqua
    Under-achieving Peter moves to Virginia with his over-achieving girlfriend Julia. They meet and befriend fellow-newcomer Leslie, whose boyfriend is still in Texas. To varying degrees they are all writers who drink, vape, drive up debt, and live in filth. We get back story on each writer in turn, loser with writer's block, virgin poet/med-student, bi-sexual published writer; and basically are subjected to the mess of their existence together and s...
  • Julie F
    the fact that this terrible book was published in the first place is testament to the overall corruption of the corporate publishing industry and how privileged, mediocre white male writers are disproportionally and undeservingly praised. anyone who is not an upper class/upper middle class college educated white person will not be able to relate to this book or appreciate it at all. its about a bored, egocentric, misogynistic white MFA grad/Engli...
  • Charlotte
    I liked the author photo, and I hoped to like the protagonist, but I didn't. I didn't even feel like I got to know or care about any of the characters. Would have liked to know Julia; she seemed like the only relateable/non-bad character. I don't tend to enjoy these depress-y morally empty books where the characters just loll around drunk and stoned. Also the parts about the dog; "Why I am I reading this sentence about the dog running over or bar...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    I dont usually like it when young writers write about young writers but Martins writing is so funny and observant that he could write about anything and Id be delighted. Im not supposed to be reading for pleasure at the moment and yet I found myself picking this up at every opportunity. Loved it. I don’t usually like it when young writers write about young writers but Martin’s writing is so funny and observant that he could write about anyt...
  • Haroun
    imagine lena dunham's girls but less interesting and in virginia (its just as white though)
  • Chad
    I didn't realize it until maybe halfway through, but the characters that fill this novel--sharp witted, pseudo-intellectuals, constantly referencing books they probably haven't read--could just as easily populate a Sally Rooney novel. In a lot of ways, Early Work feels like "Sally Rooney for boys" in the way it captures a bunch of disaffected Millennials who talk about politics and the state of literature, partake in casual sex, smoke a lot of we...
  • Natalie Fitzpatrick
    Moderately entertaining and funny but my overall feeling leaving this book was mild distaste. Neither of the alternating narrators had any redeeming qualities. Self important, self destructive, selfish, lazy and entitled I spent most of my time becoming more disgusted with them and their complete disregard for anyone but themselves. Towards the end I deeply disliked the author if this was at all autobiographical, which if it is not, is a testamen...
  • Jeremy Hessman
    Good story, but the characters just werent super enjoyable. Good story, but the characters just weren’t super enjoyable.
  • Paul
    Very impressive. Laugh-out-loud funny on almost every page, highly polished prose, and a genuinely engaging (and pleasantly character-driven) story. Ultimately a bit too much of a Franzen-lite beach-read version of a literary novel to be 5/5 stars, but Martin is definitely capable of greatness. Purely on a line-by-line level, Martin seriously delivers in terms of aphorisms and observations; in the first five pages alone (I stopped bothering to ke...