Morgan, North. “Into?”, Flatiron Books, 2018.
We All Know a Konrad
On social media, Konrad seems to be everywhere. He is the guy that no matter what we do, he has done it first and better. But then there is Konrad Platt who is heartbroken after his boyfriend left him for another man. You see, Konrad abandoned his life in London for the warm sun and blue surf of Los Angeles where he attends parties in the Hollywood Hills filled with handsome men and beautiful women, snorts mountains of Adderall, and dances the weekends away. He attempts to mends his broken heart through dating apps and he is constantly searching and scrolling through profiles and chatting with an endless number of men and each one is handsomer than the last. However, when one captures his heart, a twisted modern romance begins and it is thrilling, confusing, and devastating. What we find is that this guy who seems to have it all is missing what he is really desperate for— real connection.
Writer North Morgan takes us into the modern generation of gay men that are living firmly outside the closet, freed from the horror of AIDS and elevated by popular culture. But there is a new set of problems— insecurities and self-destructions. This is a very funny and shockingly perceptive story of excess and love. It is the story of a life spent online that has a sense of urgency —“a brutal story about loneliness in this hyperactive social media age that was bursting to be told.”
Morgan wonderfully captures message-only relationships, the gym-dysmorphia, and that is purely physical. We come into the life of Konrad at a seemingly arbitrary point, and then taken from it just as abruptly. The novel is dark and takes self-loathing to a whole new level. Konrad is a character that so many individuals can relate too that for many readers, this book will become their book.
Here is the shallow world of gay men on social media that delivers a funny and sobering look at the two dimensional personalities that are online personas. Konrad is both a participant and a tortured observer who documents his desires, inadequacies, and eccentricities.
In today’s society, there is a huge disconnect between societal demands and emotional sustainability especially because there is a strong tendency for one to become an agent who promotes social norms rather than following one’s own moral values.
Konrad is dealing with this and as we read about him, we see ourselves in some of his struggles. We gain an insight into our own unspoken struggles that we are deal with daily. Konrad lives in a pretty world with pretty people and is treated indifferently by everyone but doesn’t do anything about it because there’s something alluring waiting for him. Morgan’s story of the endless search for what one can’t have is so timely especially when thinking about today’s gay culture. We have the never-ending parties, the drugs and the sex but they are only a part of this story.
Konrad comes to America and to LA, right into a scene of gay men who exist solely on the surface. Konrad works in finance for his dad, reveals his true addiction: social media and a heteronormative man that he can’t have or possibly be. He spends hours on Facebook, Instagram, and the dating apps engaging with men hoping for one that defines his very specific and limited view of masculinity. Those he does hook up with only disappoint by word or deed and then he’s on to the next. He realizes that it’s the chase and the actual obsession with someone he won’t have that is the fun.
Konrad looks for what we all search for— someone to be happy with. He is his own worst enemy as we often are, looking for what we most want at any given moment, but not what we actually need. This is a very satisfying, modern tale of contemporary urban gay life with many twists and turns.