Friday, September 29, 2006

Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue

A novel of Pastry, Guilt and Music.

This book looked promising staring back at me on the shelves of Book City on Bloor St. When I started it, I had some second thoughts. It seemed a little disjointed, forced. In fact though, Mark Kurlansky only needed a couple chapters to stretch out and find his rhythm. And it is a book about rhythm, the rhythm of a neighbourhood - the Lower East Side in NYC before it became trendy East Village. The hood is populated by a mixed bag of misfits - a Jewish family that owns property but isn't good at collecting rent; a German, possibly ex-nazi family running a pastry shop; Chow Mein Vega an aging latin boogaloo star, Arnie, who lives on the street on a pallet - and more. The novel is about the relationships that happen to make a community. It centres on an affair between the daughter of the owner of the pastry show, Karoline, and Nathen, son of Harry the landlord....they make pastry as part of their sex life. Nathen's wife is sort of a playwright - she's been working on a play for years...the drug dealers keep the muggers out of the neighbourhood because there is more money in drugs than in mugging...

Very good book - almost 4 salties on the 5 anchovy rating scale.

No comments: