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Windy City: A Novel of Politics [Kindle Edition]

Scott Simon
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

The acclaimed author of the intensely powerful novel Pretty Birds, Scott Simon now gives us a story that is both laugh-out-loud funny and heart-piercing–as sprawling and brawling as Chicago, where politics is a contact sport.

The mayor of Chicago is found in his office late at night, sitting in his boxer shorts, facedown dead in a pizza. The mayor was a hero and a rascal: dynamic, charming, ingenious, corruptible, and a masterly manipulator. The city mourns. But it’s discovered that the mayor was murdered–shortly after he may have begun to squeal on some of his colleagues at City Hall. Over the next four days, police race to find the mayor’s killer, while the politicians who bemoan his passing scramble for his throne.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his second novel, the host of National Public Radio's Weekend Edition paints a detailed portrait of Chicago politics, beginning with the sudden death of the mayor. The focus quickly shifts to Indian vice-mayor Sunny Roopini, who must assuage a traumatized electorate while laying down a few paving stones for the mayor's successor. Matters are further complicated when the police discover deadly amounts of liquid nicotine on the late mayor's pizza, a revelation that inspires a mayoral staffer to leap from his apartment window. Roopini's brief interim mayorship proves to be a minefield of favors, accommodations and downright extortion—the latter by a U.S. Attorney determined to dig up any ethical hiccup he can. The suffocating political life is enough to beckon Roopini toward retirement (particularly with his two daughters on the cusp of adulthood), but the city doesn't seem willing to let him go. The proceedings can be fascinating, but Simon is too attached to his (admittedly impressive) descriptive powers, dragging the narrative through a swamp of mannerisms, fashion sketches, culinary processes and (especially) political maneuvering. Politics junkies will get off on the detail, but readers with less than a passing interest in the sausage-making that goes on at City Hall may be frustrated. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

When the mayor of Chicago is mysteriously murdered while eating pizza, 48th Ward alderman Sunny Roopini becomes acting mayor. A recent widower, Sonny struggles to keep his teenage daughters and restaurant under control. The revelations that come in the wake of the mayor’s death are perhaps more than he can handle. To add to the chaos are a collection of subplots, each worthy of its own novel: an alderman revealed to be gay, another revealed to be on the take, and a third in love with a drug dealer. Fans of NPR’s “Weekend Edition” will recognize Simon’s charm and love of all things Chicago. His characters are all fascinating and complex. However, there are a few too many to keep track of, and the political details and intrigues occasionally threaten to overshadow the sweet and affecting story of Roopini’s grief and growth. --Marta Segal Block

Product Details

  • File Size: 766 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400065577
  • Publisher: Random House; Reprint edition (April 14, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00256Z3OA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #676,292 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chicago Politics Light April 1, 2008
Windy City: A Novel of Politics
Windy City is a fun book that parodies Chicago politics and urban ethnic culture in the course of a murder. Scott Simon is the ideal author for such a book. Like me, he is a "Chicagoan Away" as described in his memoir Home and Away. And, like that book, it treats one familiar with Chicago geography, politics and ethnicity with waves of nostalgia and authenticity.

The story revolves around the Alderman of Chicago's 48th Ward, an Indian American restaurant owner serving as Vice Mayor when the African American Mayor, his ally, dies - from a poisoned pizza. He assumes the role of Acting Mayor as described in the Chicago charter and as happened after the deaths of Richard J. Daley and Harold Washington, especially Harold Washington.

Like any book of this kind, it pledges that the characters are fictional. But the similarities of some with real life characters are inescapable. The murdered Mayor has some remarkable similarities to the city's only African American Mayor Harold Washington. I worked for Harold as counsel to city's civil rights agency and as his liaison to the city's Asian Americans. Much of my job came close to the world of this book. Like the murdered Mayor, Harold used long words, ate as with the same gusto that he practiced politics ( I remember taking him to Korean, Indian, Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants - he returned to some after closing for extra helpings). And he died at his desk also, though from a heart attack not from a poisoned pizza. Like this Mayor, his sexuality took second place to his politics.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Windy City April 20, 2008
I have always thought that Scott Simon was one of the best writers in broadcasting. More often then not, I have found myself sitting back in my kitchen on a Saturday morning and taking in his words as they flow almost effortlessly from my radio. I also know that writing like this is never effortless. The man has great talent.

Now it appears this talent has translated to fiction as well. And that's not as easy as people might think. Consider asking a pediatrician to perform brain surgery tomorrow. Writing for radio and fiction are really very different forms.

Simon has captured a marvelous look at our country in the beginning of the 21st century by focusing on, of all things, the colorful politics of Cook County. When you really think about it, what could possibly be more American? And he has accomplished this with his great humor and vivid knack for description.

I don't often laugh out loud when I am reading books. I did here. I also found the opening description of a politician's view of what it takes to get votes and what it means to enter the arena as one of the single best descriptions of our flawed and fabulous democratic system. I have read it over several times, as I did other passages in this really great book.

Finally, a personal story: a few years ago, I was visiting a friend who lives on the north side of Chicago. She and her husband live with their one daughter in a three bedroom home that was once owned by a Catholic family with ten children. It was summer and we were sitting on the front porch. She described her neighborhood by the people who passed by. There was a gay couple pushing a baby carriage. There was "Big Ed", the retired Chicago Cop who chatted with the couple. There were at least three different nationalities.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story mired in details December 12, 2008
Scott Simon's "Windy City" has all the elements for an entertaining political mystery/adventure novel. The characters are good, the settings are superbly described, the heart is there, the mystery of a murdered mayor is deftly handled, and the ending warms the heart. So why is the book so tedious to read? The problem is that Simon over-researched this book. While he might find it fascinating to describe the ethnic make up of all 50 wards that comprise the city, most readers do not. So much of the book is delegated to long passages describing alderman and their relationship with their ethnic constituents, to the point that the mystery of the murder is almost forgotten. Oddly, this mayor seems to be a Harold Washington type, although the actual Washington is mentioned as a past mayor. The Daleys (Richard J. and Richard M.) are also long gone. For some reason, Simon seems to feel that the era of the white male mayor are long gone, but gives no logical reason for stating this.
Acting mayor Sunny Roopini, of Indian extraction,is an engaging character and the book brightens when he's front and center. It's a pity that he doesn't do more to get to the bottom of the mystery. Instead, the book flits around strange, unresolved events such as a suicide of a mayoral top aide and an alderwoman's weepy confession of an impolitic love affair in the past. These and many other plot points make the novel wobble perilously off course before coming to its logical and long-in-coming conclusion.
A judicious editor could have done quite a bit in trimming the unneeded miscellaneous information and tightened the plot. A four-star book is lurking here, too bad it's hiding under a pile of random facts.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Chicago Style
Good old Chicago style politics. The author captures the machinations of the characters who run a city the olf fashioned political way.
Published 13 months ago by Sops
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Interesting story of Chicago politics and corruption that is nearly as real as the current game played by the machine today.
Published 21 months ago by Eugene M. Long,Jr.,M.D
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds like Chicago!
Scott Simon's characters are so much like what Chicago politicians have proven to be through the years, that the story could actually be real. Read more
Published on March 9, 2013 by Theresa A. Prater
2.0 out of 5 stars not ready for prime time
The story line is good Chicago fun but the writing belabors every element. Over description becomes a distraction and drugery to read. Editorial staff really dropped the ball here. Read more
Published on August 18, 2012 by seattle_sunshine
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Politics, Not Much Suspense
Windy City takes place over a 3 day period, following Alderman Roopini, the Vice-Mayor, from the time the Mayor is found dead until the council's election of a new interim mayor. Read more
Published on July 17, 2011 by D. C. Palter
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful novel for Chicago insiders
Scott Simon has created a bit of a roman a clef with WINDY CITY. Beloved African-American mayor dies face down in the remnants of his prosciutto and artichoke pizza. Read more
Published on April 10, 2011 by Jim Tenuto
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been shorter
I will say that the book got off to a good start--the murder of the mayor of Chicago. Quite an interesting way to begin. Read more
Published on April 2, 2011 by Loves to Read
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Good Look at Chicago's Finest Leaders
Although there is a murder involved this is not really a crime book. It follows the acting interim mayor for a few days as he works hard trying to herd cats and keep his fellow... Read more
Published on February 28, 2011 by Bonner '62
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Knew?
Who knew that Scott Simon was anything but a pretty face on the radio?
Who knew that Chicago politics could be, well, a good read? Read more
Published on October 8, 2010 by L. Besant
5.0 out of 5 stars Windy City
Windy City by Scott Simon is hilarious! It is a MUST read for any Chicagoan...or former Chicagoan like me! Made me nostalgic for the crazy politics that define the Windy City. Read more
Published on March 10, 2010 by Frances Luchsinger
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