The Altruists (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Andrew Ridker

Viking, 9780525522713, 320pp.

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

"Super brilliant, super funny."
--Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story and Lake Success

"A truly remarkable debut."
--Nathan Hill, author of The Nix

A vibrant and perceptive novel about a father's plot to win back his children's inheritance


Arthur Alter is in trouble. A middling professor at a Midwestern college, he can't afford his mortgage, he's exasperated his much-younger girlfriend, and his kids won't speak to him. And then there's the money--the small fortune his late wife Francine kept secret, which she bequeathed directly to his children.

Those children are Ethan, an anxious recluse living off his mother's money on a choice plot of Brooklyn real estate; and Maggie, a would-be do-gooder trying to fashion herself a noble life of self-imposed poverty. On the verge of losing the family home, Arthur invites his children back to St. Louis under the guise of a reconciliation. But in doing so, he unwittingly unleashes a Pandora's box of age-old resentments and long-buried memories--memories that orbit Francine, the matriarch whose life may hold the key to keeping them together.

Spanning New York, Paris, Boston, St. Louis, and a small desert outpost in Zimbabwe, The Altruists is a darkly funny (and ultimately tender) family saga in the tradition of Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides, with shades of Philip Roth and Zadie Smith. It's a novel about money, privilege, politics, campus culture, dating, talk therapy, rural sanitation, infidelity, kink, the American beer industry, and what it means to be a "good person."


About the Author

Andrew Ridker was born in 1991. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review Daily, Guernica, Boston Review, The Believer, and St. Louis Magazine; and he is the editor of Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics. He is the recipient of an Iowa Arts Fellowship from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. The Altruists is his first novel.


Praise For The Altruists: A Novel

"Andrew Ridker has a lot to say about the way we live now. The result is one of those super-brilliant, super-funny novels one enjoys in the manner of a squirrel with an especially delicious acorn. I found myself trying to get out of every activity and responsibility just to come back to this novel."
Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

"It's frankly a little unfair that a writer so young should be this talented. Not only does Andrew Ridker have a sharp eye for the absurdities and contradictions of 21st century America, but he also delivers a heartfelt and compassionate story about a family shattered by loss, now finding their awkward way back to each other. I cared so much for these people, their traumas and betrayals, their public humiliations and private failures. The Altruists is a truly remarkable debut."
Nathan Hill, author of The Nix

“This book will inspire readers to sacrifice comfort and find meaning—Turn off (the comfort), Tune out (the babble of groupthink), Drop in (to duty and responsibility)—or else! Thank you to Andrew Ridker for this excellent debut novel. It is culturally significant and a sign of the times.”
Atticus Lish, author of Preparation for the Next Life

"The Altruists is a superb exploration of isolation, loneliness, and infidelity—in the broadest, most interesting application of the word. Every chapter is crafted with the care of a perfect short story, and the characters within it are so fully formed I could almost feel their breathing. How tremendous (and a little annoying) that a novel this striking could come from a writer so young."
Kristen Radtke, author of Imagine Only Wanting This