The tech industry is fertile ground for satire; just look at what Mike Judge has been able to do with his show Silicon Valley. But Doree Shafrir proves there are no geographical boundaries to the characters that are drawn to the bizarre world of tech startups. From tech bros to the journalists who follow their every move, Shafrir, in her debut novel, creates an addictively compelling world in a city that far too often serves as the backdrop to books about the worlds of finance and fashion. By choosing Manhattan, she already manages to skip most of the clichés of Silicon Valley players (if New Yorkers have every felt insecure about an industry, it’s technology where they are clearly considered also-rans).
Startup focuses on Mack McAllister, who founded a tech company that aims to anticipate your moods and send you suggestions to cope. Trying to keep his company afloat long enough to get a much-needed influx of investor funding, he is also dealing with the fallout of a relationship with a co-worker. Katya Pasternack is a young reporter at a tech site (not unlike BuzzFeed, where the author of this book works as a culture writer) looking for a big story. Her boss, Dan and his wife, Sabrina, who also happens to work for McAllister’s company, all collide in this fantastic book about life in the small world of tech startups. In an industry ripe for satire and criticism, Shafrir tweaks the startup culture beautifully while introducing characters you will actually care about.
Startup: A Novel by Doree Shafrir/Hardcover, 291 pages/Little, Brown/2017