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The Thieves of Manhattan: A Novel Paperback – July 13, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Top Customer Reviews
In the beginning Ian, a failing writer, meets Jed, another failed author, or is he a scam artist? and they embark on an adventure as they rewrite Jed's memoir. Along the way they speculate about what literary talent is, who has it, who's a fake or real in the corporate literary world and among their fellow writers. I loved the inside look into book society as well as the adventure tale running throughout the story. There are also a few love stories along the way and some cloak and dagger adventure. Best were the humor and the sense of fun. I enjoyed Langer's book immensely.
As said I loved it, as in past tense. Someone once wrote or said that in a novel an author can get away with one coincidence, and I suppose in a tolstoy (really hefty one) perhaps a couple. As this story unspools the coincidences, the accidents of improbable timing are simply staggering. It became almost impossible to suspend disbelief--as if one had been reading an amusing book that suddenly turned into a Indiana Jones adventure, and then into a cartoon.
In the first half there were a couple of plot distractions that caused hairline cracks in my suspension of disbelief, but they weren't fatal. All of a sudden something happens on page 174 that doesn't seem wrong until later in the story, but eventually it causes major cracks in the disbelief problem. (I don't want to make this a spoiler.) On page 194 a genuine deus ex machina appears in the form of an overweight café owner--unexpected and really inexplicable, although the author tries to explain it. In another scene the hero apparently reaches out for a glass of water but two pages later his hands are tied so that he has to indicate something with his chin as a pointer.
Lastly, I wished that I'd stopped reading at about page 190 and skipped to the last chapter.Read more ›
So I don't think Langer wrote this novel - which is very good and funny - as a bitter rejoinder to the literary world for not seeing his talent. He's clearly NOT the character "Ian Minot", but he's obviously distressed at the state of the literary society today where authors and agents and publishers play a game with literary output. I couldn't help but laugh at the number of "blurbs" from other well-known writers praising Langer's book.
I think I'll wait awhile to see what others say about "Thieves of Manhattan" and Langer's reason for writing it. I have a feeling that either the book will be ignored or will actually bring about some valid questioning of the literary establishment.
In any case, as always, Langer's novel is a great read, with his usual sly wit. I also think its great that the book was published in trade paper instead of hard back.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kept reminding me, as I read, of The Goldfinch. Not the plot line, but the writing style. A likable and intriguing character in first person narrative, with a plot that kept you... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Christine M Durkin
One third of the way into the book I had the plot figured out. Even so, I felt it was worth the read / listen since I wanted to see how everything would be tied up. Read morePublished 19 months ago by S. Brock
Lots of fun--Langer uses reader curiosity to great advantage.Published 22 months ago by Augusta Rohrbach
The editing in this book is really pathetic. It gives the impression of being just thrown together. I would skip this one!Published on June 3, 2014 by Phyllis Maxwell
Moderately entertaining, the book revolves around an ingenious plot twist. This is a quick read that will keep a vacationing reader occupied for a day or two. Read morePublished on January 8, 2014 by Rich
The plot is preposterous. But what made this book annoying and unreadable (for the record, I did finish it) was the use of literary term as slang. Read morePublished on September 26, 2013 by BookLover526