Books: Isn't It Post-Ironic?

In a debut novel, a leading journalist gives the Turn of the Century a satiric twist of the knife

I know Kurt Andersen. Everyone knows Kurt Andersen (especially here at TIME, where he was on staff for six years). I just know him less well than everybody else does, so it falls to me to review Turn of the Century (Random House; 659 pages; $24.95), his novel about the world in which "everyone" can be defined as the people Kurt Andersen knows.

This, if you're wondering, is a compliment. Since his time at TIME, Andersen has been a founding editor of Spy, the editor in chief of New York, a producer of network specials, a staff writer for the New...