By Frank DiGiacomo
After almost 40 years of taking apart the wealthy and powerful on the witness stand, New York trial lawyer Richard Golub deconstructs the system in an out-there new Orwellian novel.
Golub, who has litigated against fugitive financier Marc Rich, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump and the late Andy Warhol, just published "Feisengrad," his second novel, via Amazon.com's CreateSpace division.
The book tells the tale of a dystopian world called "The Z" that's ruled by cops and baseball umpires, where, Golub writes, "no one was safe, spiritual, perfect, knowledgeable or good."
Although he started "Feisengrad" in the mid-1970s, Golub says that "the book is more timely now because people in positions of power have shown how corrupt or pathetic they are."
The novel, which Golub calls "a satirical attack on authority," follows the title character, Plausible Feisengrad, over the first three days of his life as a "plow7," the classification given to inhabitants of The Z who hatch from eggs into a life of constant surveillance.
A governing body called the "Z Board" endorses only two religions, Coughism and Sneezeology, and keeps tabs on plow7s through its newspaper, "The Ventilator."
"There were no laws in The Z," Golub writes. "Cops and The Z Board created the system, arbitrary rules set out in a paper rulebook" to keep themselves ensconced on "Power Drive."
Strangely, when plow7s run afoul of The Z Board and cops, baseball umpires are summoned to declare the accused "safe" or "out."
As Feisengrad sets out to achieve the three main goals of a plow 7's life - finding a job, friends and a girlfriend - he begins to question the system.
Golub did the same when it came time to publish "Feisengrad." Unhappy with the treatment that St. Martin's Press gave his first novel, "The Big Cut," in 2000, the attorney put out the book himself because, he says, "publishing companies are just printers who take 90 percent of the cut."
Despite not being promoted through typical publishing channels, "Feisengrad" just got a largely positive writeup in the Yale Daily News, where reviewer Lauren Motzkin wrote that "Golub's incisive descriptions of this nonsensical world" call to mind "Lewis Carroll for grownups" and will have the reader "laughing out loud."
Golub says he will publish "book two" of "Feisengrad" by the end of 2011. "Practicing law has basically damaged my imagination," Golub says. "I've decided to revert back to my old self."
With Carson Griffith and Molly Fischer --NY DAILY NEWS, September 20, 2010
`FEISENGRAD' A CRAZY SUBCONSCIOUS RIDE
By Lauren Motzkin
"Feisengrad" is not a comic book. "Feisengrad" is a novel with pictures every few pages. These pictures do not have speech bubbles or Lichtensteinian explosions with the word "Pow!" written across them.
But despite its 140 pages of text, "Feisengrad," by Aaron Richard Golub, is a quick read, especially when compared to Joyce or Kant or even the biochem reading you haven't started, even though your test is on Monday. Kinda perfect for a packed schedule.
The story follows the titular character over his -- spoiler alert! -- three days of life. Hatched out of an egg on Monday morning, Feisengrad lives in a world called "The Z." Inhabitants of The Z are referred to as plow7s, creatures that are basically human beings except that they eat by inserting a cassette of one of four vegetables into a slot in their mouths -- and, you know, the whole hatching out of an egg thing. Plow7s live under the constant surveillance of the Z Board, a mysterious governmental body whose headquarters are located behind a secret door at the Casa Blanca -- a bar that serves only beer ("for pussies") and 100% alcohol. The three main goals in any plow7's life are obtaining a job, friends and a girlfriend.
Feisengrad is the only member of this cracked-out society to question the system. He waxes philosophical at times, wondering about his and his world's very existence -- all within the 24 hours of being born.
The novel is a crazy adventure through the subconscious, reflected in Feisengrad's constant internal monologue. But it's clever without being too serious; Golub's incisive descriptions of this nonsensical world -- think Lewis Carroll for grownups -- lend a sense of irony to the work that will have you laughing out loud as the young hero learns about sex, love and power. At times, the story hits you over the head with its lessons in a way that is somewhat pedantic, but the author's frank and funny prose helps to diffuse the effect much of the time.
I don't think anyone at Yale has time to pleasure read these days, especially now that the rosy sheen of shopping period has worn off. But give "Feisengrad" a go, anyway. It doesn't take long to read and it's really very funny. And even if it isn't technically a comic book, it still has pretty pictures.
--YALE DAILY NEWS, September 17, 2010