As the ultimate kiss-off to bourgie, picket-fence values, you: a) declared marriage an “outdated institution.” b) pursued a purposefully suit-free passion (see: acting/music/academia). c) moved to a gritty, underdeveloped neighborhood in Brooklyn. Or, as the six main characters in Joanna Smith Rakoff’s exquisite debut novel, A Fortunate Age, d) all of the above. Which is why following the co-ed clan of Oberlin grads through the inevitable weddings, stalled careers, and invasive high-rises hits so close to home. In an homage to Mary McCarthy’s The Group, Rakoff explores the identity crises and hidden anxieties experienced by post-collegiate pals during the late 1990s (hello, dot-com!) and early millennium (9/11). Struggling to reconcile their privileged upbringings with Gen-X ideals leads to unexpected compromises and a most disconcerting truth. Hegemony talks. Available online at amazon.com or at your local bookstore. Craving another page-turner? Snag one from our bookshelf.