TOM SHONE In the Rooms

ISBN 13: 9780099534068

In the Rooms

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9780099534068: In the Rooms

You meet everyone in the rooms...English literary agent Patrick Miller came to New York dreaming of joining the big league, only to find himself selling celebrity dog books. But when he spots the legendary novelist Douglas Kelsey on the street and follows him into an AA meeting, a world of opportunity beckons. Patrick enters a den of sex addicts, junkies and pill-poppers, all rubbing shoulders with the reclusive Kelsey. Who knew that sobriety offered such networking possibilities? Or that the women would be so attractive? There's only one small problem. Patrick doesn't have a problem - not with alcohol, nor with drugs, just with that little thing they call the truth. As everyone is beginning to find out...Part Nick Hornby, part Jay McInerney, with a dash of vermouth, "In the Rooms" is a warm, sharply observed comedy about sex, lies and second chances.

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About the Author:

Tom Shone was both deputy literary editor and film critic of the Sunday Times, before becoming a writer at Talk magazine. He is the author of Blockbuster: How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer (Simon & Schuster). In the Rooms is his first novel. He lives in New York.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

chapter one
 

IT WAS A COLD, clear morning, the sun low in the sky, casting long shadows that stretched the length of the sidewalk. My breath formed little clouds of vapor in front of my face that evaporated instantly. I tightened my coat, tucked in my scarf, and fell into step behind a man in a Burberry raincoat, a copy of the  Wall Street Journal under his arm. Always a safe bet—a man in a Burberry raincoat, carrying a copy of the  Wall Street Journal under his arm. After nine months in the city, I’d learned to steer clear of anyone with a dog on a leash, a camera around his neck, a baby in a pram, a map in his hand, or a family in tow, all highly likely to commit any one of a number of traffic violations—pulling out in front of you, dawdling, changing lanes without warning, or else just stopping dead on the street. No signal. Just stopping dead, right there in front of you, to gawp, or point, or chitchat, or just hang out, like it was his living room. Nobody  stopped on the streets of New York. The only reason for you to stop was if you had reached your destination; that was the only real reason, the only valid excuse. Otherwise, you kept going. That was the genius of the grid system: There was always some direction you could be moving in—left, right, up, down, north, south, east, west. The only people who seemed to understand this properly, funnily enough, were the elderly. The elderly in New York were nothing like the elderly in London, inching along the pavement in their multiple layers of wool and nylon. The elderly in New York were wiry, feral creatures, their haunches sprung like marathon runners, their instincts for a gap in the crowd, for some fleeting point of ingress, honed by decades of pounding the streets. In my first week in the city, I had been expertly cut up by this silver-haired old dear in lime green Lycra jogging shorts and sneakers who zoomed just past the end of my nose, missing me by a whisker. I could only gaze in admiration as she disappeared into the midday crowds, elbows pumping. Get behind one of  those, I figured, and it would be like tailing a fire truck or a police car as it hurtled up one of the avenues. They didn’t even look old. They looked young. Only older.
At the end of my street, a heavy refuse truck hissed and moaned, hungry for the black bags tossed into the back by the garbagemen; passersby glanced in, doubtless imagining what it would do to their frail bones, and hurried on. I came to a halt on the corner of Seventh, which was flocked with taxis, beside one of those orange cones belching steam from the subway system. I caught a faceful of cabbagy-smelling steam—what were they  doing down there?—and felt my stomach roil. The exact dimensions of my hangover, long suspected but so far not precisely demarcated, revealed themselves to me. This was not going to be one of my more productive days.
I was just considering heading north to cross a little higher up, when my phone rang. Fishing it out of my pocket, I saw Caitlin’s name flash up in blue on the little LED screen. Fuck. What did  she want? For a few seconds, I toyed with the idea of not taking the call, then duty, or guilt, or some mixture of the two, kicked in. I flipped open the phone and held it to my ear.
“Caitlin. Hi.”
There was a pause before she spoke, and she sounded sheepish when she did. “Patrick … hi.… I’m sorry to call. I just wanted you to know that I shouldn’t have sent that e-mail. What you get up to now is your own business. I’m sorry.”
The e-mail, terse with sarcasm, had been the first thing in my in-tray that morning. “Liked your profile on Simpatico.com. Glad to see you’re feeling a little more ‘chipper’ these days—Caitlin.” I had groaned when I read it. An actual groan escaped my lips. They really ought to put a warning on those things; I thought: THE FIRST PERSON TO READ THIS WILL BE YOUR EX-GIRLFRIEND. Then see how many people called themselves “adventurous” yet “earthy,” “spontaneous” yet “considerate,” “outgoing” yet “shy” or said that they liked to “laugh a lot,” mostly at themselves. If you believed all that you read on the dating Web sites, New York was populated entirely with zany yet grounded twentysomethings engaged in citywide hunts for the best cupcake shop, while laughing at themselves, madly. It was all lies. Most people I knew were too busy working like dogs to embark on spontaneous road trips in custom-painted ice-cream trucks, or to cook blue spaghetti for their art-school friends, or any other of the madcap activities that made up the three-ring circus that was supposed to be your life.  I like to live each day as if it were my last. How was that any way to live? If I was to live every day as if it were my last, I’d spend the rest of my life drunk, six cigarettes stuffed in my mouth, sobbing down the phone at relatives I hadn’t called in ages in a funk of fear and loathing. How was  that a good way to spend the entirety of the rest of your life? My Wednesdays were bad enough as it was.
“It’s okay,” I said. “You had every right. It must have been a shock seeing me on that thing. It’s not what you think. I’m not using it to go on any dates. It’s just … window-shopping.”
“Window-shopping.”
It didn’t sound so good when she said it.
“Yes. You know. Fantasy. Pretend. You think I’m ready for someone else? Are you kidding me? Of course I’m not. I just wanted to know what it might be like to feel okay again. Reassurance that I wouldn’t feel like this forever.”
“Reassurance that you wouldn’t feel like this forever.”
“Yes,” I said, wondering why she was repeating everything I was saying. That couldn’t be good.
“I see,” she said icily. “So you’re not feeling so ‘chipper’ anymore, then?”
Ouch. Okay. That was embarrassing.  Word That Best Describes Your Current State of Mind. I’d been trying to strike a note of Cockney insouciance. Cheeky-chappy kind of thing. Allow them to infer how dumb I thought the question, while also hinting at the unusual word choices you got with dating a Brit in New York. Across the street, the light changed, and my little pack of pedestrians surged forward. I racked up a decent pace in the hopes the conversation would follow suit.
“Okay, look, this isn’t fair, Caitlin. I was just trying to move on. It’s been three months now.”
“It’s been one and a half.”
“No.”
“It’s been exactly six weeks.”
“I thought it was three.”
“No.”
“Yes.”
Turning onto Eleventh Street, I found myself engulfed by a swarm of schoolchildren, all holding hands, jabbering away in what sounded like three different languages. I took immediate evasive action, but it was too late, and I found myself slowing to a virtual standstill. Nobody had told me there would be  children in New York. I decided the time had come for an experimental note of anger to see where it got me.
“Okay, look, this is ridiculous. You’re sounding like it wasn’t you who ended the whole thing. You threw  me out.”
“I don’t want to go over that whole thing again. That is not true. I didn’t  throw you out.”
“You more or less did.”
“Can you even tell the truth, Patrick? What happens when you try? Does it hurt your mouth? You’re incredible, absolutely incredible. Do you want to know what the worst thing was? It was the fact that you put yoga under ‘hobbies and interests.’ After all the times I asked you to go. I mean, if the question had been ‘Things my last girlfriend asked me to do but I always refused,’ that would have been an honest answer. As a profile of  me, that would have been an honest answer—”
“I’m interested! That makes it an interest!”
“—and baking! Okay, here’s a tip. If you’re going to put baking as a hobby, then when they ask you about the items you have in your fridge, don’t put ‘a bottle of champagne’ and ‘a chocolate bar.’ You can’t bake with champagne and chocolate.”
I thought hard for a recipe that used champagne and chocolate and came up short. Something was bothering me about this conversation, something nagging at its periphery that I couldn’t put my finger on. On my left, two schoolgirls had lost hold of each other’s hands. I saw my chance and pushed through them.
“You have no idea what I’m up to these days—”
“Well, I’m pretty certain it doesn’t involve baking and yoga! Good Lord! The only reason I knew it  was you was because you put  Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth as your favorite book. You may want to do something about that. That’s not the sort of thing that’ll have ’em queuing up at your door in this city. Biographies of dead Nazi architects.”
“He was the one Nazi who was man enough to stand up at Nuremberg and—” I began, when suddenly it came to me. But of course! How could I have been so stupid! It had been staring me in the face all along! “Hang on … How come you were reading my profile?”
There was silence on the other end of the phone.
“What were you even  doing on Simpatico.com?” I asked.
An even longer silence, in which I could sense the swell of victory.
“A friend of mine is a memb...

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 129 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. You meet everyone in the rooms.English literary agent Patrick Miller came to New York dreaming of joining the big league, only to find himself selling celebrity dog books. But when he spots the legendary novelist Douglas Kelsey on the street and follows him into an AA meeting, a world of opportunity beckons. Patrick enters a den of sex addicts, junkies and pill-poppers, all rubbing shoulders with the reclusive Kelsey. Who knew that sobriety offered such networking possibilities? Or that the women would be so attractive? There s only one small problem. Patrick doesn t have a problem - not with alcohol, nor with drugs, just with that little thing they call the truth. As everyone is beginning to find out.Part Nick Hornby, part Jay McInerney, with a dash of vermouth, In the Rooms is a warm, sharply observed comedy about sex, lies and second chances. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780099534068

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 129 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. You meet everyone in the rooms.English literary agent Patrick Miller came to New York dreaming of joining the big league, only to find himself selling celebrity dog books. But when he spots the legendary novelist Douglas Kelsey on the street and follows him into an AA meeting, a world of opportunity beckons. Patrick enters a den of sex addicts, junkies and pill-poppers, all rubbing shoulders with the reclusive Kelsey. Who knew that sobriety offered such networking possibilities? Or that the women would be so attractive? There s only one small problem. Patrick doesn t have a problem - not with alcohol, nor with drugs, just with that little thing they call the truth. As everyone is beginning to find out.Part Nick Hornby, part Jay McInerney, with a dash of vermouth, In the Rooms is a warm, sharply observed comedy about sex, lies and second chances. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780099534068

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Book Description Cornerstone. Book Condition: New. English literary agent Patrick Miller came to New York dreaming of joining the big league, only to find himself selling celebrity dog books. But when he spots the legendary novelist Douglas Kelsey on the street and follows him into an AA meeting, a world of opportunity beckons. Num Pages: 336 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 133 x 24. Weight in Grams: 240. . 2010. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099534068

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Book Description Cornerstone. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, In the Rooms, Tom Shone, You meet everyone in the rooms.English literary agent Patrick Miller came to New York dreaming of joining the big league, only to find himself selling celebrity dog books. But when he spots the legendary novelist Douglas Kelsey on the street and follows him into an AA meeting, a world of opportunity beckons. Patrick enters a den of sex addicts, junkies and pill-poppers, all rubbing shoulders with the reclusive Kelsey. Who knew that sobriety offered such networking possibilities? Or that the women would be so attractive? There's only one small problem. Patrick doesn't have a problem - not with alcohol, nor with drugs, just with that little thing they call the truth. As everyone is beginning to find out.Part Nick Hornby, part Jay McInerney, with a dash of vermouth, "In the Rooms" is a warm, sharply observed comedy about sex, lies and second chances. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099534068

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