Macy Halford recently wrote in the New Yorker‘s Book Bench that she happened upon the “hipster lit” section of Bookhampton while browsing in its Sag Harbor location. The shelves are loaded with the usual suspects: Bolaño, Hornby, and Rimbaud. In the comments section, a rep from Bookhampton gushes, “Bukowski and McSweeney’ [sic] as well as the ultimate female hipster Jennifer Egan (Visit from Goon Squad) and Patti Smith jumped off the shelves this morning… We just put them back!”
Sixty-three years after Anatole Broyard published “A Portrait of the Hipster” in Partisan Review, we are still arguing about what constitutes a hipster. Instead of another essay on the topic, we thought choose a different tack and encourage an alternate list for those Hamptons residents and fair-weather visitors who are sick and tired of their bookstores being invaded by scowling tight-jeaned youths and adults wearing plaid shirts. We came up with a list of novels with acceptable characters for the lily-white denizens of the land where people use “summer” as a verb and argue about ancestors who were on the Mayflower or about who is from “new” money. (South- and East Hampton, we’re looking at you.) What are your suggestions for a Yuppie Lit genre, dear readers?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nick Carraway guides us through life in the fashionable East Egg during the Roaring Twenties in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. When Carraway visits Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s Georgian colonial mansion, he remarks on the view: “[Tom] moved a broad flat hand along the front vista, including in its sweep a sunken Italian garden, a half-acre of deep, pungent roses, and a snub-nosed motor boat that bumped the tide offshore.” How quaint.