The Thieves of Manhattan
By Adam Langer
(Spiegel & Grau, Paperback, 9781400068913, 259pp.)
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
List Price: $15.00*
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The famously false memoirs of James Frey may be yesterday’s news, but as this funny riff reminds us, literary fakes are as old as literature itself. Ian Minot is an aspiring writer who labors over short stories that seem destined to remain unread. His beautiful Romanian girlfriend, Anya Petrescu, finds success more easily—and leaves Ian for Blade Markham, a bloviating ex-gangbanger whose “so-called memoir” is a best-seller. When Ian is approached by ex-editor Jed Roth, who wants Ian to publish Jed’s pulpy tale of book theft and murder as a memoir, then renounce it, it’s a chance for both of them to get revenge: Jed on his former employer, and Ian on the world. Although Langer may be too cute for some (he employs made-up slang in which a penis is a portnoy), he does an engaging job with the hall-of-mirrors plot. And if readers can predict that the book they’re reading is the one that Ian ends up writing, they’ll never guess the ending. Just when you want a surprising twist, Langer delivers several.
Adam Langer's enigmatic new novel, The Thieves Of Manhattan, twists and turns like a Mobius strip. The author speaks with Liane Hansen about his myriad influences, his love of puzzles, and how his novel simultaneously skews and celebrates the industry of literature. More at NPR.org
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