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Feisengrad Paperback – July 27, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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

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

About the Author

Aaron Richard Golub, a New York-based trial attorney, specializes in entertainment and commercial litigation. He established his reputation through a series of high-profile cases against the likes of Dino de Laurentiis, John Guare, William Hurt, Marc Rich, Martin Scorsese, Brook Shields, Sharon Stone, Donald Trump, Andy Warhol, Harvey Weinstein, The Mayfair Regent Hotel, Penthouse Magazine, Progressive Insurance, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers. As a public figure, Golub was the subject of cover stories in New York Magazine (1989) and The Sunday Observer (1989), television specials on 60 Minutes (Australia), GBH (Germany) and was featured in The New York Times as a Public Personality (2000). BBC Two produced documentaries about two cases he litigated: Penthouse Magazine/Bob Guccione vs. Ken Russell (the director of Tommy) and Hampton vs. John Guarre (about the film, Six Degrees of Separation). Mr. Golub appeared twice weekly on The Morning Show (CBS, 2002), reporting on the Michael Skakel trial in New Canaan, Connecticut-Skakel was convicted of murdering Martha Moxley in 1975. Behind the camera, Golub produced a BBC Two documentary on renowned photographer Weegee (1980s) and curated an exhibition about him at The Whitney Museum. His first novel, a legal thriller called The Big Cut (St Martin's Press, 2000), became a national bestseller, ranking number one on The Los Angeles Times bestseller list. Golub wrote the original screenplay and produced the film Factory Girl (2008). Feisengrad, Book One is his second novel.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439270554
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439270554
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,332,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Aaron Richard Golub invites us into the Z where "no one was safe, spiritual, perfect, knowledgeable, or good," in other words, a hyper-condensed world very much like our own. Feisengrad is a dystopic satire in the tradition of Sinclair Lewis's "It Can't Happen Here" and Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America," but in the Z the fascists are umpires and religions are are viruses expressed by the expulsion of air (Sneezology and Coughs)- natch. Pointed, weird, deeply moral and very funny, you find yourself rooting for this implausible hero and hoping he makes it through the week.
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Feisengrad is an insightful allegory conceived in the tradition of Orwell, Atwood (Margaret) and Abbott (of Flatland fame).

Golub takes us to a world (the "Z") where the inhabitants (called "plow7s") struggle to make their way through a life dominated by dishonest institutions and a rigid class system. The plow7s seem vaguely aware of the wrongness of their circumstances, but are either ignorant of the mechanisms that control them, individually powerless to change the system, or simply too beleaguered by the pain of their own daily struggles to care.

The story is short but dense, peppered with delightfully dry observations such as: "Gold Street was made out of solid gold. It was an ironic trick, because no one on the street had any gold. In the most wretched weather, the dazzling luster and glitter of gold blinded the plow7s. On the other hand, it distracted them from the deep and penetrating agony their feet suffered when they walked on the precious metal." (A more subtle joke about the unhappy illusions maintained by plow7s can be found in the cutting observation that: "'Are we having sex?' . . . was a common question axed in the Z by experienced plow7s who had sex almost every day of the week.")

Feisengrad is an entirely different type of work from Golub's other creations, such as The Big Cut or Factory Girl (which themselves are very different from each other). The reader therefore should not approach Feisengrad with the expectation that it belongs to the canon of Golub's earlier works. Rather, Feisengrad is a more serious inquiry into the nature of our polity, and though it is a philosophical discussion, it rewards the patient reader with a surprising and thought-provoking climax at the end.
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Running through Golub's short novel is a question: Who is really in charge? Feisengrad wakes in a brave new Orwellian world -- the Z. He is born from an industrial egg to become a Plow7 -- a functionary with no past forced to fulfill a role in a world of arbitrary rules dictated by Umpires enforced by Cops. Feisengrad is quickly told what he is to do, but fails to fit in. He questions, fights, loses his job, and listens to the wisdom of the Wino -- that the Z is not just about Umpires and Cops, that other Plow7s are out to get him, a fate that soon arrives. Feisengard makes a half-hearted attempt to rebel, but the rules are stacked against him. He is just a Cough and the Sneezes (they're all Plow7s) do their work. A short life of just 3 days ends with a quick, violent death.

Feisengrad's Hobbesian world is brutal, nasty and short. As parody or parable, Feisengrad asks us to consider to what extent it mirrors our world. Golub ends the novel telling us that this is only Wednesday. There is more life -- and there will be more chances. But Golub finally cautions not to have false hope -- the week still always ends on Sunday.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Golub's use of words and images are spectacular. Without a doubt will be on the New York Times Bestseller List!!!
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