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I really wanted to hate him, but in the end, well, I just couldn’t: In 1999, the New Yorker selected Washington, D.C.,’s Matthew Klam as one of the 20 best young writers in America. The celebratory issue was thick and glossy and completely without mention of my name. (What, “The Legend of Goatman” never made it to the Big Apple?) After hours of angrily flipping through the magazine, I finally settled on the 32-year-old Klam’s “Issues I Dealt With in Therapy.” I figured on clunky Gen-X musings, but, alas, no such luck: Klam’s story about a wayward young professional failing in the eyes of a successful peer was funny, tender, and—the best compliment I can dole out, folks—made me want to write. The new Sam the Cat and Other Stories collects seven of Klam’s New Yorker contributions, each one the monologue of a morally skewed protagonist desperate for a foothold in today’s romantically turbulent times. In the title story, a 30-something philanderer wonders why he can’t land the woman of his dreams: “I wanted real love. Not a replay, not the same thing over and over again….I wanted love and everything—cut flowers, her wearing a beautiful dress, lingerie, seeing an incredible band, blow jobs in a convertible. Going to Africa for Christmas—you know, the finest champagne, meeting movie stars together, amazing parties with a see-through dance floor. How many times do I have to hear myself explain this?” Klam reads from his book at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Sean Daly)