The Mayor's Tongue, By Nathaniel Rich
Sunday 17 January 2010
Nathaniel Rich has written a debut novel that is, perhaps not surprisingly given his day job as an editor of The Paris Review, largely about writing. Eugene Brentani, a university graduate unsure of his next step in life, has become a removal man with a firm in New York City run by Alvaro, from the Dominican Republic.
Parallel to his story is that of Mr Schmitz, who fought in the Second World War. Schmitz was stationed in Trieste for a time, and Trieste is where Eugene traces Alison Chisholm, a young woman whom he has met in New York. She is helping her father to research his biography of a vanished US writer, Constance Eakins, who seems to be holed up in the Trieste hills. Schmitz's best friend, Rutherford, meanwhile, has moved to Italy, and Schmitz is worried about him.
Stories, generations and nationalities all collide in what is an entertaining and superior novel. (Albeit not quite as superior as it thinks, dotted as it is with more than a few clichés – "deepening frowns", "laughing hollowly", that kind of thing.)
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Ireland gay marriage vote: 'No' campaign appears to concede amid reports of 'yes' landslide victory
- 2 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 3 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
- 4 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland