2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Boozy Bildungsroman Nails 90s San Fran,
This review is from: The Tenderloin (Paperback)
Wow, this is a really impressive first novel. Part coming-of-age, part immigrant's tale, Tenderloin entirely won me over with its sharp dialogue, strong core of lost, loaded lead characters and the wicked streak of transgressive humor that runs through it.
Evan, Milo and Roisin are a toxic triangle of friends, fresh off the plane from Dublin , trying to find their way in early/mid 90s San Francisco , and very much floundering. As you'd expect (and hope for), there are epic quantities of boozing, raving, donnybrooking and shagging - followed up by some passing out in the street. But I was particularly impressed with the novel's less boisterous moments, particularly the friendship between Evan and the older, blue-collar Fred.
Tenderloin also works as an evocative snapshot of a strange era (hey, I was there). It nails not only the narcotic, sun-dappled allure of the city, but also its intersecting iconic subcultures - zonked-out Deadheads, e-popping drum n bass dj's, stock option-chasing code monkeys, and sybaritic leather-clad bears all intermingle hilariously (and credibly). And then, at the novel's margins, one senses the creative, destructive force of the Internet emerging. Nothing's going to be the same - for these characters and this city.