The Late Americans by Brandon Taylor


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In the shared and private spaces of Iowa City, a social circle of lovers and friends navigate tangled webs of connection as they try to figure out what they want, and who they are. At the centre of the group are three dancers: Ivan, tall and stoic, who is leaving ballet for a career in finance; Fatima, whose work ethic earns her both admiration and enmity; and Noah, who ‘didn’t seek sex out so much as it came up to him like an anxious dog in need of affection’. As they test their own desires in a series of relationships – and in other, clandestine ways – they are buffeted by other volatile figures in town, from an unruly, vulnerable young poet to a local landlord nursing a lifetime of resentment. Finally, after a series of violent encounters, the group heads to a cabin to bid goodbye to their former lives, and waves of long-buried heartache resolve into moments of unexpected tenderness.