From Publishers Weekly
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 Allminder.com, 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 clichés of plot and character, but his compassion for these confused and imperfect humansespecially as they try to piece together their lives after the predictable Allminder crashprovides balance and depth. The ending feels too fast and a bit too hopeful, but otherwise the novel's a winner.
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Following Jay 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 Allminder.com: slick CEO Jonathan 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 WilkinsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved