Going Dutch

Adultery is difficult on a tiny island. No matter how many inhabitants flood the streets, the three of you are bound to find yourselves on the same street corner, staring. And then you must meet your fate, perhaps over the most excruciating brunch in all of space and time, considering, as you implode, who will pick up the check.

In James Gregor’s Going Dutch, Richard is pushing thirty in New York City, and the funding for his doctoral fellowship is in serious danger because for some time now he hasn’t actually been able to write anything. The dating apps don’t improve his life outside academia: Blake seems promising until he’s just another a one-night stand, an absence in Richard’s hand where messages should be.

Richard finds that shopping and eating with other people’s money seems to help, especially if the oft-swiped credit card belongs to Anne, who seems to have such a difficult dating life herself that she might be willing to overlook Richard’s quite transparent homosexuality. They’re both odd creatures, and they both like so many of the same things: medieval Italian literature, brunch, A.P.C. suede, alcohol, men.

Richard desperately wants love but he desperately needs money, and every moment of his social life is perched precariously over a river of questions: How much does this cost? Am I being treated? What kind of contract have I signed in exchange?

And when Anne’s help with his academic becomes far more than help—and Blake reemerges as maybe the ideal husband after all—the question of what Richard will keep doing for money becomes the question that will define whether love with either of them can possibly be on the table. PLEASE READ

Going Dutch by James Gregor, from Simon & Schuster