About a month ago I tweeted with 100% sincerity, “I zone out as soon as a TV show description uses the words, ‘crime boss.’” Although in my tweet I was referring to a synopsis I had seen on Netflix, believe me when I say this is true for books as well.
I have no capacity for paying attention to a story where macho men brandish guns while calling women “broads” or where the word “capeesh” is used as a replacement for a question mark. I am not so arrogant to think that just because these stories don’t appeal to me, it means they’re bad, but nevertheless, whenever I say I don’t like this genre someone usually mentions The Godfather or something similar as if I’ve been living under the biggest and most soundproof rock in creation.
“BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GODFATHER?” “I’ve seen it!” “But did you like it?” “No!” Anyway, one week after my tweet (and its now obvious foreshadowing), I was cracking open Jennifer Egan’s newest novel, Manhattan Beach, to find the story centered around what can best described as… sigh… a crime boss. Or, more accurately, a woman whose life is deeply affected by a crime boss. I broke out into a cold sweat as I became increasingly aware of what I was getting myself into. I’d already planned to write a review of Egan’s new book because two of her previous novels,The Keep and A Visit From the Goon Squad, are some of my personal favorites. I didn’t feel like I could back out now. Besides, what would I write about if not this?
Time was of the essence and, frankly, I hadn’t expected Jennifer Egan to do this to me. Despite my trepidation, I took the plunge and read it… and as much as I hate to admit when I’m wrong, I guess I like crime fiction now. Read More..