When you write a novel about a suburb that happens to be in New York city, is upmarket, arty and full of wealth and influence you possibly leave yourself a bit open for comparisons and libel suits. Karl Grenfeld’s novel Triburbia is not only based in Tribeca New York City, but the chapter headings are street names and numbers. Various reviewers have suggested that he has based some characters on an apparently well-known and rather nasty magazine editor, a restaurateur and a famous writer accused of telling lies/
The novel is a series of interlinking stories based around the inhabitants of these addresses. The fun part is working out how they all link, with the common link being the local school. The fathers predominate in the early parts of the book, and there is a sense from them at least, that they are the central characters. The fathers have tenuous attachments to their surroundings and each other, but their self-importance is second to none. Gradually after the introduction of the women and children the relationships between the characters becomes clearer and the book really takes off.
There have been a number of American novels set post 9/11 and pre- financial crisis, but when written with the hindsight of impending financial ruin, there is a great sense in knowing that the smugness and self-satisfaction will not last. Someone is going to crash and burn, and be assured that they do.