Ira Gold Debasements of Brooklyn

ISBN 13: 9781579624439

Debasements of Brooklyn

4.24 avg rating
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9781579624439: Debasements of Brooklyn

His father had warned Howie, "You can't ride two horses with one ass." But here he was, living a double life--one racketeering with his crew and the other sitting in cafes reading Penguin classics.

To fit in, Howie hides his intellectual interests from his gangster friends, but they still suspect something is not right about him. The real problem is that someone has been bad-mouthing Howie to Vinnie Five-Five, his captain.

Howie thinks he could solve all his problems by finding a way to leave Vinnie's crew without anyone thinking he would turn rat. And while he goes about advancing this plan in his deliberate, half-baked way, a war breaks out between the Italians in Sheepshead Bay and the Russians in Brighton Beach.

Now, beside his friends, he has enemies who wish him dead. So he must run from the basement apartment he rents from his sister--the one person who truly loves him--into the arms of demure and bookish Ariel, who likes her men rough and her sex rougher.

Howie believes it necessary to continue keeping his erudition under wraps lest Ariel lose erotic interest. Will Howie survive the war? Will he survive Ariel's wrath when she finds out she's harboring not a thug but an esthete with PhD level cultural knowledge?

Why the hell not? But boy is she mad.

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About the Author:

Ira Gold writes all the time and publishes occasionally.

Review:

"Howie Fenster, big and mean-looking, is a Mob enforcer who keeps company with guys named Pauli and Scrunchy. Much of his narration has to do with his attempts to stay alive while the Russian and Italian mobsters slaughter one another in a turf war. By chance, he meets and hides out with the lovely, bookish Ariel, who s thrilled by this walk on the wild side. Until she stumbles upon the goon s reading list: Aristotle, Proust, et al. "Who the hell are you?" she screams, disillusioned. A closet intellectual, that's who. A stunningly conceived and executed battle scene almost blends crime-story action with literary introspection, but a feeling of distance remains. This is more of a clever, funny literary exercise than it is a novel about real people, as when, guns on each other, two goons dispute Orwell versus Dostoyevsky. Still, it's good fun for those who enjoy irony and who like to see genre conventions take a beating." --Booklist

"Readers who appreciate well-honed imagery and refreshingly original turns of phrase will find a lot to like." --Publishers Weekly

"In Gold's debut, small-time Brooklyn hood Howard "Windows" Fenster sells weed and collects vigorish for capo Vinnie Five-Five Spoleto, but Howard's passion is the Penguin Classics library he inherited from his mob accountant father...Gold has good fun with amoral mobsters like the psychopathic Irish-Italian called IRA, the gluttonous Frankie Hog, and crazy Pauli Bones. Dialogue seems spot-on, especially if mob guys rely heavily on f-bombs, but the setting's more commentary than descriptive. There's comedy to be had, especially as Howard helps Mrs. Five-Five dispose of a body while contemplating references to Aeschylus's Oresteia. Irony too, as Howard mopes through a critique of capitalism versus communism, characterizes mob violence as being 'as meaningless and pointless as...Vietnam and Iraq,' and debates Orwell versus Dostoyevsky with Ivan, the lone Russian mobster who doesn't want to kill him. Fun stuff, this oddball mating of The Godfather and The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight." --Kirkus Reviews

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