The Fundamentals of Play

Caitlin Macy’s remarkable first novel is an evocation of a time and a place in which those things that were always so dependable–money, class, family–are threatened on all sides.

Narrated by George Lenhart, scion of a family who lost their fortune but not their good name, The Fundamentals of Play follows five friends from prep school as they enter adult life in New York City in the aimless, early nineties, before the internet explosion. They work entry-level jobs at investment banks, spend weekends in the Hamptons. At their center is the fickle, elusive Kate Goodenow. Everyone is in love with Kate and only George understands her heart was captured long ago, and for good.

Hailed as a Great Gatsby for the end of the twentieth century–The Fundamentals of Play introduces a brilliant new Lost Generation longing to live careless lives, while the situations around them are increasingly fraught with importance–and the world threatens to leave them behind.


A marvel–a thrillingly intelligent, witty and tragic look at love and class in Manhattan.-Newsweek

Brilliantly portrays the onset of a new age and its ideals… [Macy’s] portrait of life in New York is realistic both in its vibrancy and loneliness.-Chicago Tribune

Macy [is] an ambitious and graceful writer… Her ye for the sparks that fly when her honed and not so honed sensibilities rub together is nearly unerring.-The New Yorker

The Fundamentals of Play is a graceful, poignant tale of thwarted love….The book works because of an all-too-rare quality in first novels–its grace.-The Hartford Courant