A day in NYC described from the points of view of a fascinating cast of characters. Their stories intermingle. You feel like it could be a day in NYC today; it feels very contemporary.
Hamill writes a flawless gripping tale about two things he knows well?newspapers and New York City?and there may be a third, random acts of kindness, those that make it worth getting up and seeing another day dawn.
I gave up on it. It's all in the present tense, and has a different chapter for every character, only one which I liked.
Get The Sentimentalists instead.
Pete Hamill at age 76 has written another heartfelt, fast-paced novel about New York City and its people. The book, with thriller elements, covers a 24-hour period in the lives of its variously connected characters. Among them are: a chief editor of a struggling tabloid newspaper; a Greenwich Village culture patron; a soon-to-be indicted hedge fund executive who is about to flee the country, and a pregnant, 15-year-old black girl alone in a rat-infested Brooklyn apartment. The book reflects Hamill's deep knowledge of New York's diverse cultures, and features his tight, colorful writing style that contains elements of the old New York Post, Hemingway and Dashiell Hammitt (one gaunt character is described as "a bone-colored Giacometti or an exclamation point under mild sedation", and another character rises from his seat "like a long unfolding Swiss army knife.") This is Hamill's 11th novel; he also has published two short story collections, four collections of his newspaper pieces, two memoirs and biographies about Diego Rivera and Frank Sinatra. He is a writing treasure!
This book was not for me. I can see the appeal and may come back to it later - but I just couldn't make it past the first few chapters.
Pete Hamill's Tabloid City begins in a newsroom and ends in a church — for protagonist Sam Briscoe, there's not much difference between the two. Briscoe is the devoted editor in chief of the New York World, the last afternoon tabloid in New York. The man lives for news, despite running a paper with a bare-bones staff and dwindling morale that is living in the shadows of days when newspapers were great; even Helen Loomis, a longtime Briscoe compatriot and female "rewrite man" is said to have "nothing left but cigarettes and loneliness."
But from two minutes past midnight, when we find Briscoe stuck at work trying to fit the story of a model student shot dead onto the front page, until 9:16 the following night when all the smoke clears, Hamill's exhilarating thriller explores a world where newspapers are as soaked in adrenaline as they are in ink.
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