From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Langer (Crossing California
) delivers an über-hip caper that pays homage to and skewers the state of publishing and flash-in-the-pan authors. Aspiring writer Ian Minot toils in a New York City diner, enraged because he can't get published. His jealousy is pushed to the edge because he suspects the bestselling memoir about drug addiction and being in a gang by no-talent Blade Markham is a fake. Then Ian's Romanian girlfriend, Anya Petrescu, easily finds a publisher for her short stories. Ian becomes the latest author to be embroiled in a headline-making literary scam when he can't resist a scheme in which he passes off another man's novel about a valuable manuscript as his own memoir. The consummate con game takes a deadly turn after Ian realizes he doesn't understand the ramifications of his book nor does he control his emerging career. Part Bright Lights, Big City
, part The Grifters
, this delicious satire of the literary world is peppered with slang so trendy a glossary is included. (July)
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Crime caper meets metafictional satire of the publishing industry in this mischievous novel, says the New Yorker
about this postmodern work, which skewers the publishing industry as it examines the meaning of truth and fraud. Snarky, clever, and preposterous, yet somehow credible (James Frey comes to mind), The Thieves of Manhattan
kept critics on their toes. Yet while most critics enjoyed (or at least "got") Langer's name-dropping and insider vocabulary (a "poppins" is an umbrella, "franzens" are glasses, etc.), some thought his references were over-the-top. The ending also confounded a few reviewers who otherwise praised Langer's storytelling skill. Although entertaining and clever in its own right, the novel may best be appreciated by readers familiar with the tropes of the publishing world.