Citizen Sidel

Jerome Charyn, Author
Jerome Charyn, Author Mysterious Press $23 (224p) ISBN 978-0-89296-605-9
Reviewed on: 01/04/1999
Release date: 01/01/1999
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In contrast to the bleak and poignant atmosphere of his most recent Isaac Sidel book, 1997's El Bronx, Charyn offers knockabout farce in this latest adventure of the gun-toting New York mayor. It may take readers a few pages to get into the surprising mood, but by the third or fourth time Sidel gets knocked on his keister they'll will be ready for anything--even a vision of Sidel tucking his ever-present Glock into a pair of orange pants in order to impersonate an Isaac Babel character named Benya Krik. The novel is full of smart jokes: a luxurious nursing home is called Riverrun and a trained rat is named Raskolnikov. Mayor Sidel has been chosen as the vice-presidential candidate by the Democrats, to add muscle to the ticket headed by J. Michael Storm, baseball czar and former student radical. Up against Isaac and Storm are ruthless Republicans, crooked cops and corrupt FBI agents, deadly Bronx gangsters, kamikaze assassins and an 85-year-old Romanian once known as the Butcher of Bucharest. "" `A period in the right place is like a hammer in the heart.' That's what Babel said,"" a literature teacher tells Sidel. Charyn proves once again--with energy, imagination and perfect periods galore--that he knows how to swing a hammer like nobody's business. (Feb.)
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