Author: arthur nersesian
Genre: New York Lit
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
I detest New York. Their subways are shit, their street signs were named by an accountant whose passion is pen protectors, and the New York attitude seems to be the centre of the universe. But jealous pandering aside I also detest it because if I was ever lured in by the Statue of Liberty’s fat shiny torch and the dreams of becoming a writer, the only writing I would do is snarky things on the side of latte’s, and cry myself to sleep in some closet apartment. Coincidentally, this is also the conflict of what I have now coined New York Lit (minus the canadian part). A bunch of quirky, cynical, scrappy, teenage, to fading youngish somethings with cynical one-liners, who use the middle-finger as a form of hello, where surviving the Big Apple is adventure enough. Think Rent, or Girls, or any of the works of Brian Wood’s. It’s also the theme plotline of “dogrun” or “ooh look at me I’m too trendy to use uppercase like proper english”.
This is where I would normally give a short intro, but I think I already have. But what the hey, our protagonist a dedicated temp worker and almost failed writer, comes home to find her boyfriend, Primo dead in front of the tube. And what could have been a cynical and matured homage to Paul Zindel’s mystery novels, is instead New York lit, where a initial hopeful investigation into Primo’s past breaks apart into Mary surviving New York through her viewpoint of half-heart cynicism thrown at us with a sharp energy and the taste of shattered wit in it’s dialogue. Remember the faffing of High Fidelity? Yeah just that with less records and more expensive rent.
And it works, the heavy-laden descriptions, too cheap or too real for literary-fic, keeps the pages turning, even if it feels like just another act from a one-trick pony (more on this later). However what utterly stumbles it is ironically the whodunit in the beginning. Mary’s life is interesting more or less when it’s forced to have a climax with the culprit for Primo’s death thrown in our faces and the big reveal in the secret origin of one of Mary’s friends. There author’s job is done, the end.
Even with the trip in the final lap I would recommend it, except this isn’t arthur nersesian only book about NY, “The Fuck-Up”. Although this is the first book of his I read, I feel like the girl who catches a guy who mentions his exes like it ain’t no thing, and a nagging feeling that you’ll join them. But for now he keeps life living and let’s just enjoy the moment.
Recommend: Bumming around the gritty of downtown in a dead moment of time.