A struggling writer in New York City faces “a deadline for an article … for The Observer about the redevelopment of a street on the Lower East Side …. I spent the following five days on hold with city officials or talking to Chinatown business owners in a language I didn’t understand or having my computer crash on government Web sites.”
So laments the unnamed narrator in Jeff Hobbs’ new novel, The Tourists, from publisher Simon & Schuster; it’s about a gaggle of younger Yalies trying to make a professional and personal go of it in Manhattan. The narrator, apparently (we haven’t had a chance to read the entire book), covers real estate for various city publications, including this one.
It seems a thankless life—one only compounded by the personal imbroglios of your typical New York twentysomething. (Mr. Hobbs actually lives in Los Angeles, but spent three years commuting between New York and the African nation of Tanzania, according to a press release.)
So—sigh—things often don’t go well for the narrator, including the Lower East Side redevelopment piece:
“Nothing was flying on the Gowanus Canal pitch, and the editor assigned to the Lower East Side piece I had written for The Observer had scrapped it entirely.”