"Writing a book can be a profoundly optimistic act; expecting someone to read, buy and publish it is always a phenomenally presumptuous one."
I didn't know much about this book before I started to read it, except that after I reviewed How I Became a Famous Novelist, Greg from The New Dork Review of Books suggested I read The Thieves of Manhattan. Well, I'm happy I listened to Greg once again, because this book was awesome. However, most of the fun that came along with reading this book was that I didn't know where it would take me, so I'm not going to give too much away.
The Thieves of Manhattan is essentially a riff on the publishing industry's literary fakes and hoaxers (James Frey, anyone?). It follows a down-and-out aspiring short story writer and the web of lies in which he becomes tangled. It's equal parts funny, thrilling and snarky. Aside from the exceedingly suspenseful story line (I read this book in one day), I especially enjoyed the plethora of literary slang Langer threw into the novel. A handy glossary in the back of the book clarified each and every one. For example:
kowalski n. A sleeveless white T-shirt of the sort favored by the character Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee William's A Streetcar Named Desire, in which he is depicted by the playwrite in one instance as wearing "an undershirt and grease-stained seersucker pants."This is a book for book lovers. Although this novel explores the lives of those who lie to get ahead, it is a testament to the modern human condition and just how far we will go to achieve success. Truly a page-turner, The Thieves of Manhattan is fun, smart, and I can't recommend it enough.
daisies n. Dollars, from Daisy Buchanan, a character in F. scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, about whom Jay Gatsby remarks, "Her voice is full of money."
salinger v. To live in seclusion, after the reclusive author J. D. Salinger
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau, 2010