Cover image for Boomtown : a novel
Boomtown : a novel
Williams, Greg, 1966-
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Publication Information:
New York : Overlook Press, 2004.
Physical Description:
304 pages ; 21 cm.
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After the Y2K panic had subsided and the streets of Times Square were cleared, America woke up to a new century shocked to find itself more or less the same as it was before. Following the lives of a group of sharply drawn characters in this uncannily hip and savagely satirical new novel from the acclaimed Sewanee Writers’ Series, Greg Williams takes us to the heart of the postmillennial psyche.Jonathan Scarver, CEO of Internet start-up, has Midas-like visions of wealth and an IPO scheduled for late spring guaranteed to skyrocket the value of his stock options to obscenity, if he can only manage to keep it a secret that the company is nearly bankrupt. His publicity director, Brad Smith, has been relying on the comfort of all-night parties to relieve the stress of work and to drown out the calling of a secret ambition. Around his life circles Nicole, a struggling actress-slash-waitress coping with a post-breakup depression. In a series of just-missed chance encounters and lost opportunities of the kind that can only happen in Manhattan, Brad and Nicole’s orbits nearly collide and are then repelled, spiraling with the city’s gravitational pull toward their destiny.A Bright Lights, Big Cityfor the age, Boomtownexposes with dry irony and magnetic wisdom the hubris, vanity, and deceit that fueled the staggering climb and precipitous fall of that era’s ambition.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Followingay McInerney's unforgettable portrait of coke-sniffing urbanites in the '80s in Bright Lights, Big City (1985) comes first-novelist Williams' lively portrayal of hard-drinking dot-commers in the '90s. Employing, in places, McInerney's trademark second-person omniscient narration, Williams homes in on the employees of slick CEOonathan Scarver is having an affair with the director of human resources and is spending millions on office renovations, although his company has yet to make a dime; PR whiz Brad Smith is increasingly torn between slamming back margaritas at Cibar and staying home to write a novel; geeky systems guy Steve Bluestein makes a habit out of snooping through e-mail because no one wants to converse with him face-to-face. Their company is heading for a serious fall, tweaked by a nerd's desire for revenge, and office politics start to heat up in weird and interesting ways. Williams mixes a sure command of the language with a deliciously wicked plot in this witty, fast-moving send-up of hubris and greed in the Big Apple. An absolute pleasure to read. --Joanne Wilkinson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The author of Younger than Springtime offers a series of sharply clever and often comic character studies of New Yorkers riding the brief but intoxicating Internet boom. Jonathan Scarver, CEO of Web startup, is expanding his money-guzzling company, heading for a scheduled IPO that should net him "a nine-figure fortune" while juggling the demands of his tempestuous Arab investor, Farouk Kharrazi. Further down the food chain, PR ace Brad Smith makes loss sound like profit during the day and drinks himself into oblivion at night. But can Allminder stay afloat long enough to make that IPO? Tension, sexual and otherwise, also comes in the form of gorgeous Sierra, the smart ex-stripper whom Brad hires at the request of a rich investment banker buddy. Sierra shakes things up by using her charms to build a power base with Kharrazi, while Allminder's nerdy computer guru, who's been busy reading everyone's e-mail and knows the company's in trouble, unleashes a powerful virus that forwards people's emails to everyone on their contact list. Williams's crisp, ironic voice keeps the narrative clipping along, and a sweet subplot about a struggling actress named Nicole who survives a breakup with her boyfriend and a sabotage attempt by her jealous acting teacher to land the part of her dreams adds to the fun. Williams stumbles into a few clich?s of plot and character, but his compassion for these confused and imperfect humans-especially as they try to piece together their lives after the predictable Allminder crash-provides balance and depth. The ending feels too fast and a bit too hopeful, but otherwise the novel's a winner. (Apr.) Forecast: Some might accuse this Internet novel of coming a bit too late to the cyber party, but it's a fun, fast read and should do much to establish Williams's reputation. Solid blurbs from Claire Messud, Margot Livesey and John Casey should help, too. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved