Penerbit Peguins Books
Landesman's second novel (after The Raven), about 48 hours in the life of a dissolute New York attorney, offers a literate and menacing new perspective on the noirish territory already staked out by such writers as George V. Higgins. Nathan Stein, the son and partner of a powerful, corrupt defense lawyer, staggers through a singularly bad day, cutting his losses when "there is nothing left to cut." Not only is he physically and spiritually ill, but one of his many mistresses is dying, he is the prime suspect in his secretary's murder and a few of his shady deals and broken promises are coming back to haunt him. As his world implodes, Nathan's overactive beeper becomes a nagging, prosthetic conscience, scraping at the narrow vein of guilt that still remains in his soul. When he was a young man, Nathan flirted with culture and music and even love, but eventually, inevitably, he followed in the soiled footsteps of his father, Milton ("Stein and Stein's best and most successful defense: the irrelevance of guilt in a court of law"). While Landesman minutely examines Nathan's self-created problems, the ambitious plot sometimes creaks (for example, the homicide investigator and the murder victim may be Nathan's illegitimate siblings). Landesman's strength, however, lies in his ability to bring characters and scenes to life with economical but arresting detail. Ultimately, the novel becomes a fevered depiction of a neon-lit dystopia where the inhabitants are paralyzed by their own toxic relationships. (Jan.) FYI: Landesman's first novel, The Raven, won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.