The Privileges

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January 04, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST

Fitzgerald was right: The rich are different from you and me. Former Paris Review editor Jonathan Dee’s fascinating, frustrating novel The Privileges centers on the improbably fetching, infinitely (and it turns out, illegally) moneyed Morey family. Adam and Cynthia are the college golden couple, and the first of their friends to marry; Dee’s grasp of their spiky, loving banter is delicious. But as Adam’s career in finance advances exponentially, the family’s likability recedes, and their teenage offspring turn to indulgent rich-kid clichés. Dee’s luminous prose never falters; he’s a master. Alas, the same can’t be said for readers’ emotional investment. B

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