The Adulterants

Highbridge Audio. Sept. 2023. 5:22 hrs. ISBN 9781696613521. $15.99. F
Stuck in a languishing marriage and saddled with a London mortgage, 33-year-old freelance tech writer Ray, the millennial antihero of Dunthorne’s (Wild Abandon) latest, is drowning in the murky waters of adulthood. Dunthorne nails the generation’s anxieties with wicked wit: existential dread, housing market mayhem, marital woes, and the relentless pressure to grow up and make something of oneself. Narrating his own novel, Dunthorne is unstintingly sarcastic while still conveying the humor in Ray’s wreck of a life. Ray’s charm lies in his self-awareness. He knows his bad choices, his impulsive flings, and his career fumbles but seems incapable of making substantive change. He stumbles toward redemption, but listeners will suspect that this relatable, flawed protagonist is unlikely to get there. Dunthorne balances the laughs with moments of tenderness, proving that even midlife crises can’t extinguish hope. The bittersweet ending will leave listeners wondering if Ray will ever escape the gilded cage of his own anxieties.
VERDICT A refreshingly honest, grimly humorous ride through millennial London. Perfect for listeners willing to buckle up for existential meltdowns and uncomfortable truths.
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