25 October 2010
Book Banter -- The Thieves of Manhattan
Author: Adam Langer
Length: 253 pages
Genre: Literary fiction
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
Plot Basics: Ian Minot works in a NYC coffee shop, dates a Ukranian (or maybe Romanian?) girl, hates the new memoir by gangsta-thug-rapper Blade Markham and collects rejections for his short stories. When Ian's frustrations with the publishing world boil over, he meets Jed Roth, a former editor who's got a plan for revenge against the literary world. Ian teams up with Jed to write a novel (or maybe a memoir?). Ian's story turns into a modern caper story weaving fact and fiction together with literary aplomb.
Banter Points: I picked this book up in the library because I walked past it and it has cool cover art. However, it's quickly rocketed up the charts and into my Top Ten novels of the year list because it was just so smart and funny. Langer's riddled the book with literary allusions, creating his own version of literary classic slang (such as calling a fashionable men's jacket a "gatsby" because it's like what Jay Gatsby might have worn.) Also, for anyone who wonders what exactly is going on in the publishing world, it's fiction, yes, but it's a dead-on portrayal of the industry and the battle between best-sellers and good writing.
Bummer Points: The end of the novel seemed to get into a bit of telling, instead of showing. While Ian was such a sharp character in the beginning, as events begin to truly happen around him and because of him, he takes the voice of a detached narrator.
Word Nerd Recommendation: I wasn't expecting this title to be on my short list for Top Ten books of the year, but it's going to be there for sure. Anybody who likes smart, witty fiction and has ever entertained dreams of being a writer or loves literature, steal some time and read "Thieves of Manhattan."