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Tad Leary has problems. Just fired from his job at a Manhattan private school, about to be evicted from his sublet, and stalled on his dissertation (“Social Hierarchies of Imaginary Places”), he wakes up on the Sunday before Christmas to realize he has seven parties to attend.

A trooper in jeans and a pressed white shirt, he sets off for brunch with his eccentric family, an afternoon performance-art piece by a friend sporting little more than a tattooed goatee, a dinner party where he runs into an ex-girlfriend, a late-night soiree where he spars with an ex-boyfriend, and more. With a charming combination of wit, wisdom–and just a little whimpering–Tad charts a survivalist’s course through Manhattan’s social hierarchies.