Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tabloid City by Pete Hamill

Tabloid City: A Novel

Tabloid City: A Novel by Pete Hamill

A violent crime draws together a cast of characters that find themselves interconnected in other ways.  The crime,  the intertwined social network, and these unusual characters give us an unsentimental picture of New York during the recession.  We meet:
  • Lew Forrest of the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan, an aging and successful painter who has lost his sight. His closest companion is Camus, a black labrador; 
  • Cynthia Harding of Greenwich Village, a socialite particularly committed to the New York City libraries and literacy.  Her longtime lover is Sam Briscoe of the New York World; 
  • Sandra Gordon, whose precociousness at a dinner party in Jamaica drew the attention, sympathy, and mentorship of Cynthia Harding. From children's books to a passport and education, Cynthia helped Sandra find her place; 
  • Sam Briscoe, the editor of New York World, the last afternoon newspaper in New York and a fixture in journalism circles;
  • Bobby Fonseca, a young journalist, who lives and breathes his work; 
  • Ali Watson of Fort Greene, Brooklyn,  a New York City homicide detective;
  • Malik Shahid, a young New Yorker turned religious fanatic/fundamentalist;
  • Josh Thompson, a veteran from the wars in the Middle East who has lost his home and his family and is on the streets of New York;
  • Beverly Starr, an artist from Gowanus, Brooklyn;
  • Consuelo Mendoza, an illegal immigrant from Mexico living in Sunset Park, Brooklyn; and
  • Myles Compton, a hedgefund manager whose bad investments and shady dealings lead him to abscond in the night.
 While each of the personalities are carefully constructed, I was particularly drawn to the women who are given central roles in the novel.   Sandra Gordon is a secondary character but her strength, independence and vulnerability all come across so clearly.   The interaction between the aging and nearly blind painter Lew Forrest and his long lost muse, Consuelo Mendoza is particularly touching.   Even the socialite Cynthia Harding who only appears briefly is complex and fleshed out.  Through a high profile murder and its aftermath, Tabloid City  gives a fascinating and unsentimental glimpse of today's New York.

ISBN-10: 0316020753 - Hardcover $26.99
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (May 5, 2011), 288 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Pete Hamill is a novelist, journalist, editor and screenwriter.  He is the author of 20 previous books, including bestselling novels Forever and Snow in August and the bestselling memoir A Drinking Life.  He lives in New York City

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