Meet Your New Voice of a Generation

New York magazine said that author Tony Tulathimutte's debut novel is the first Great American Novel that lets its Millennial protagonists be heroes. Readers? They're just saying that it's really, really good. We meet the author behind the new book everyone's talking about.

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Tony Tulathimutte reads a short passage from Private Citizens.

They were on a day trip, a nothing, the four of them in the hot car speeding north.

So begins Tony Tulathimutte's debut novel, Private Citizens, in a scene in which the novel's four central characters, Cory, Will, Henrik, and Linda are lazily venturing out for a day at the beach one morning in September 2007.

The novel, which charts the interwoven lives of the four wily friends, as a crew and separately, has won praise for its sharp dialogue and original characters, who nail the aimless, privileged 20-something archetype without being overwrought or unlikable.

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Tony Tulathimutte completes our grueling three-question interview.

Tulathimutte arrived at his Sweet video shoot fresh off the somewhat exhilaratingly awkward experience of buying his own book at a bookstore. (He didn't realize we'd have a copy waiting for him to read from. Of course we did, Tony!) The experience wasn't too awkward, he assured us—plus he was happy to do contribute to increasing the sales for his debut novel.

Watching the sales of your first book, he confesses, is much worse than the awkwardness of buying it. "On Amazon Author Central you can see the Bookscan numbers, which is horrible," he says. "It's like worse than the guy who camps out on his own Facebook Likes or Twitter Faves or something. You're seeing how many people are buying you, you know?"

We have a feeling that number is going to end up being pretty impressive.

To check out the book for yourself, watch the top video for a short reading by Tony (just two friends discussing pills over dinner!), and our second video for our three-question interview about the experience of publishing a book for the first time ever.

Private Citizens by Tony Tulathimutte (William Morrow), $15, amazon.com.

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