Robert Nichols From the Steam Room

ISBN 13: 9780884481294

From the Steam Room

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9780884481294: From the Steam Room
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New York City is on the verge of collapse, its fading hopes of a bailout linked to the fortunes of ConPol, the city's on-again, off-again electric company.
Enter Helix Glowlight, chairman of the Municipal Rescue Corporation. Equal parts cynic and romantic, Glowlight enlists the aid of longtime friend Roderick McBladder, president of the Global Bank, in engineering a loan to salvage the failing metropolis. Glowlight's lover, a saucy professional handball player named Carmencita, draws the two men into New York's lively Puerto Rican community even as their financial maneuvers bring them face to face with international banking scandals and gunboat diplomacy. Careening from the earthy to the esoteric, Glowlight and McBladder meanwhile lead double lives in poetry, seeking in verse the meaning and order that othewise elude them. "When the sharks get too close to the boat," Helix writes to Roderick, "...I beat them down with poems."
Stunningly surreal and yet touchingly real, From the Steam Room offers a hilarious look at the lunacy that fuels the world economy, both above and underground. "With the savvy of a New York cab driver," writes Bell Chevigny, "Robert Nichols crosses borders of passions, peoples, and genres."

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From Publishers Weekly:

Oddly comic meditations on metropolitan decay, social heterogeneity and global finance undulate through this turbid novel of contemporary New York City. Banker Helix Glowlight, head of the Municipal Rescue Corporation entrusted with bailing out bankrupt New York, calls on his friend Roderick McBladder, president of the Global Bank, for a loan to help rebuild the city's crumbling infrastructure. The two bankers' unlikely correspondence--they exchange poems, describe recent dreams, sketch prose caricatures of their colleagues--makes up much of the narrative, which is also punctuated by Helix's intermittent retreats to the eponymous steam room, where he versifies and reflects on his own grandeur. Nichols ( In the Air ) employs a variety of prose styles to heighten the novel's dream-like quality. He evokes New York with dark lyricism, effectively parodying government and financial institutions and personifying the self-absorption of the rich and powerful in the engaging character of Helix. Despite some stirring images and provocative metaphors, however, the resulting whole fails to satisfy, its insights diffused by the peculiar structure the author so skillfully cultivates.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Robert Nichols
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Robert Nichols
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Nichols, Robert
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