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The Futures

 
 

A young couple moves to New York City in search of success — only to learn that the lives they dream of may come with dangerous strings attached.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a rural Canadian town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia—blond, beautiful, and rich—fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan lands a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, whose privileged connections yield her an easy but wholly unsatisfying job with a nonprofit, feels increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.

With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in a high-stakes deal at work—a deal that, despite the assurances of his Machiavellian boss, begins to seem more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of life. As the economy craters, and as Evan and Julia spin into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more—good and bad—than they’d ever imagined.

Rich with suspense and insight, Anna Pitoniak’s gripping debut reveals the fragile yet enduring nature of our connections: to one another and to ourselves. The Futures is a glittering story of a couple coming-of-age, and a searing portrait of what it’s like to be young and full of hope in New York City, a place that so often seems determined to break us down—but ultimately may be the very thing that saves us.

 

Praise for The Futures

 

"Tender and wise, The Futures feels like a true story. Pitoniak's voice is stylish and authentic, and perfect for exploring this rich territory: youth and love and New York City."―Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles

"The Futures transports us to that post-college moment when it seems like you have all the options in the world but no clue about which ones to choose. Pitoniak weaves an unflinchingly honest tale of two people trying to navigate expectations and learning to live with their own mistakes. A compelling and memorable debut."―J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of The Engagements

"Anna Pitoniak perfectly captures the confusion and heartbreak of those post-college years, when even the strongest among us falter in the face of our own desires. The Futures reminded me of Brightness Falls, Jay McInerney's great novel of New York, for Pitoniak, like McInerney, possesses an instinctual understanding of the mechanisms that make the city run and a knack for embracing her characters' thornier sides. Utterly enjoyable."―Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year  

“Mesmerizing… The novel’s alternating structure is hypnotic. Pitoniak is an absolute ventriloquist, completely inhabiting the voice of the two protagonists--their ambitions, anxieties, pettiness, sadness, and great love for one another. I couldn't put it down.”—Sunil Yapa, author of Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist

"The Futures is a love story and so much more. It captures the heartaches and exhilarations of early adulthood with a keen eye, a big heart, superb writing and an artfully intricate plot. This is a book for people of all ages looking for a place in the world, and Anna Pitoniak is a young novelist with some serious writing chops."―Meg Mitchell Moore, author of The Admissions

"Anna Pitoniak's debut novel, The Futures, is the perfect cocktail of smart prose, heartwarming characters, and unmatched savvy about modern city life. Like The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. or A Fortunate Age, this book will amaze and elate you."―Kristopher Jansma, author of Why We Came To the City

 

News and reviews

 

“This winter's cathartic read: a story that feels familiar yet wholly original, like every heartbreak ever.”—Marie Claire

“[An] emotional page-turner.”—Cosmopolitan

“Winter's must-read book ... The next great New York novel ... The smart, fast-paced book calls to mind a period when bright young things moved to New York to work for Goldman Sachs and not Google ... Part of a larger conversation about coming of age that includes novels like Adelle Waldman's The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. and Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children.”—Town & Country

“Pitoniak's precise and incisive powers of observation give us a book with startling grace notes ... As in earlier, seminal novels about similar 20-something cohorts—among them Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City, Brett Easton Ellis's American Psycho and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar—the city is another mirror character, a puzzle the protagonists must solve as they come to grips with their own lives.”—NPR.org

Wall Street meets Girls.”—Elle Canada

“[A] debut novel written by and for the literary millenial … Pitoniak maintains her keen eye for the insecurities facing her generation today, from romantic uncertainties and the relative benefits and downsides of hedge funds and nonprofit jobs to the emotional effort it requires to negotiate the predetermined facts of one's upbringing with the person one chooses to become.”—Harper's Bazaar

“Acutely drawn … We were transported back to our younger selves and that universal feeling of trying to make sense of an uncertain future ahead … Already looking forward to what Anna Pitoniak will write next.”—Goop 

The Futures is, variously, a campus novel, a Wall Street caper, a bildungsroman, and the saga of a long, slow breakup. But the most interesting element is that, in attempting to take stock of the financial crisis, Pitoniak (an editor at Random House) is among the first novelists to try to articulate the Bloomberg era's significance. Following in the footsteps of classic debut novels like Rona Jaffe's The Best of Everything and Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City, she charts a tumultuous period in New York City history that transforms a group of recent college grads in ways they never anticipated. …  Pitoniak ultimately manages to answer many of the bigger questions she poses, and her greatest triumph is a perceptive speculation on the thin, blurry line separating crooks from heroes on Wall Street.”—The Village Voice

“Pitoniak is a sure-footed, fluid writer … Her low-key, confessional style is well-suited to her focus: the anxiety that attends the transition from college to the work force, from structure to structureless.”—The Globe and Mail

“A charming story and damn fine debut. Tightly told, entirely readable ... An engaging story with elegant language and a cast of strong off-suit characters who temper the two-person narrative perfectly ... Pitoniak’s honest portrayal honours both better-known and under-told truths of life after graduation.”—National Post

“Pitoniak ratchets up the suspense as she explores love and big finance ... [With] savvy plotting and nimble shifts in perspective ... Pitoniak inhabits both characters convincingly, displaying an uncanny ability to convey their dissimilar and sometimes clashing impressions of the same events.”—Toronto Star

“Pitoniak's debut focuses on that time of life that is at turns both exhilarating and terrifying: right after getting out of college, when you're forced to confront who you are and who you want to be, when you know life is just beginning, but you're also starting to feel like many of your options are fading away.”—Nylon

“Anna Pitoniak's inspired debut centers on two recent college grads who move to New York City together during the 2008 recession and watch their relationship change drastically.”—InStyle

“This is another novel about the economic collapse of the late aughts. But it's an especially good one, about the things you believe in when you're young, and what breaks your heart along the way.”—Refinery29

The Futures takes place on the cusp of the 2008 market crash, and so perfectly encapsulates that time of life when everything was just beginning, when you had no idea who you were or where you were going.”—Popsugar

“Stands out for its beautiful writing, emotional depth and evocative feel.”—New York Post

“Set amid the 2008 financial collapse, Pitoniak’s assured debut explores the cost of realizing—and misinterpreting—one’s dreams … Navigating terrain—love and youth, college and city life—that’s often oversimplified, Pitoniak eschews cliché for nuanced characterization and sharply observed detail. Evan and Julia ring true as 20-somethings, but Pitoniak’s novel also speaks to anyone who has searched among possible futures for the way back to what Julia calls ‘the person I had been all along.’”—Publishers Weekly

“Once young and in love and destined for greatness, a pair of recent college grads find themselves dangerously unraveling at the dawn of the 2008 financial crisis in Pitoniak's energetic debut … Pitoniak expertly captures both the excitement and the oppressive darkness of being young and at sea in New York City, the unsettlingly thin line between freedom and free fall … Deeply empathetic—and always engaging. A bittersweet coming-of-age drama and a portrait of an era.”—Kirkus

“Pitoniak keeps the pace moving at a steady clip … Pitoniak’s well plotted, character-driven, interior-focused novel captures the knowable angst of the unknowable possibilities of modern young adulthood.”—Booklist

“This debut coming-of-age novel captures the insecurities of the first days of independent adulthood and the unintended consequences in the struggle for maturity … Recommended.”—Library Journal