Juicy, fascinating ... The Sullivanians is disjointed and sometimes repetitive, and it probably takes too many liberties in reconstructing word-for-word hearsay quotations dating back forty years or more. This is not a sleek or felicitous work, but it scarcely matters when so much of the reporting is this good, the story this pulpy and bizarre, the human behavior on display so appalling.
He gives us a keen bird’s-eye view ... Stille recounts with an almost claustrophobic intimacy ... A major amusement of The Sullivanians is how it conjures the bad old days of New York City in all its lurid colors ... A fascinating study of group dynamics and a highly competent historical account. Its only flaw, narratively speaking, is that this key party of self-actualizers features no particular cheerable hero or heroine — only survivors with varying degrees of rue, blinking as the light of hindsight intensifies.
Wonderful and troubling ... It is perfectly emblematic of the strange magic of Stille’s narrative style. He is a meticulous, dispassionate journalist and researcher, his tone calm and measured to a degree that it can feel almost cold. Yet within it is a warmth and compassion not just for human frailty and foibles, but for the hope people feel about their future, about their potential. It is a voice particularly sensitive to, and very good at portraying, youthful hope.