Paradise, Nevada

Dario Diofebi. Bloomsbury, $28 (512p) ISBN 978-1-63557-620-7
Diofebi’s sprawling, eloquent debut follows four characters whose lives converge in Las Vegas. On the night of Friday, May 1, 2015, a bomb goes off in the Positano Luxury Resort and Casino. Six months earlier, four people separately arrived in Las Vegas: Ray, a professional poker player from one of those “rare American households where moneymaking was not considered of value in and of itself”; Mary Ann, a depressed cocktail waitress from Mississippi; Tom, an Italian tourist who came to play poker after letting his tourist visa expire; and Lindsay, a Mormon journalist for whom storytelling has been “the one constant in her ever-changing set of ideas about her future.” All four characters are at the Positano during the explosion, having desperately pursued their hustles to varying degrees of success (Mary Ann learns to count cards; Tom’s fear of U.S. Customs reaches a fever pitch; Ray’s skills plateau). Rather than a central plot, Diofebi pieces together a revealing mosaic of the city. In between he lays bare the cold machinations of casino operators, such as a series of layoffs of nonunion female employees revealed in an exposé by Lindsay, the fallout described by Diofebi with scathing precision. With intelligence and empathy, Diofebi delivers a powerful and unapologetic slice of Americana. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/08/2021
Release date: 04/06/2021
Genre: Fiction
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