Wednesday, May 14, 2014
It concerns the recent release Mr. Boardwalk, a first novel by the playwright Louis Greenstein (perhaps you met him while he was writing scripts for Rugrats; perhaps you saw his musical One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nyro). I received my copy from New Door Books, a publishing initiative overseen by the wonderful writer and literary enthusiast (and my friend), Douglas Gordon. I've heard wonderful things from the uber-smart and discerning, Ellen Trachtenberg. The summary itself is alluring:
At the age of seven, Jason Benson first experiences the wonders of Atlantic City—carnival rides, fortune-tellers, fudge shops, arcades and Miss America. Smitten, he decides to live there forever. But when we meet him as an adult in New York, he's been keeping his youth a secret from his wife and daughter. What happened? This dual coming-of-age tale traces the excitement and perils of the young Jason and the moral growth of the adult who must confront his past.When I myself picked up the book just this very morning and began to read, I found this opening passage, and I thought: Durn. This sounds fine indeed.
The casinos are more ostentatious than I expected, but the souvenir shops and frozen custard stands look the same as when I was a kid: reliably, comfortably tacky.I can't wait until I find the time to actually sit and read this story through. But I didn't want you all to have to wait that long to hear about it.
The air is so blustery my ears prickle. I hitch my jacket collar to staunch the chill. Gripping the boardwalk railing, I study the beach. Four shaggy teenage boys toss a football. A middle-aged couple walks a shepherd collie, straining on its leash, barking into the wind. Beyond the shoreline the water's choppy, the tide's low. A hundred yards out, whitecaps flash like static. In the distance an ocean liner glides across the horizon.
You have heard about it. Do what you must do.