Sandie's Reviews > The Thieves of Manhattan

The Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer
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's review
Apr 01, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011-books, contemporary-lit, thrillers-and-mystery
Read in March, 2011

In his new novel THE THIEVES OF MANHATTAN author Adam Langer takes us into a spirited tale filled with idioms, metaphors and metonymy. If you have ever viewed an old Cary Grant movie called Mr. Lucky you can get some idea of Langer's style. While Cary referred to "a couple of bottles and stoppers (coppers) searching for a lady from Bristol (a pistol), Langer uses more literary references to identify certain items in his novel such as a Capote (broad brimmed hat), a Highsmith (a train), golightly (little black dress), Gatsby (a man's sportcoat....well you get the idea. Most of the references are easily deciphered, but if you should be unable to make out the meaning of a particular reference, the author has included a Glossary of Selected Terms for the reader to consult.

The novel is filled with wonderful characterizations that are, at once, simple and complex, amusing and devious and a writing style that is ingeniously knowledgeable as it unmasks an unprincipled industry that rewards fakes and hoaxes with celebrity and wealth. (Think of the memoir A Million Little Pieces or Carcaterra's book Sleepers or even Irving's fake Howard Hughes autobiography).

We follow the books protagonist, Ian Minot, a morally committed unpublished writer whose character driven stories are just too ordinary to deserve publication as he attempts to survive in New York City. Ian has taken a job working in a coffee house where he meets Roth, a customer who proposes that Ian join him in executing the literary con of all time. I will not describe the con nor will I explore any of the many unexpected twists and turns the storyline takes, I will just say that Ian is a well written character whose transformation is a wonder to behold.

Finally, this book captivated my imagination and will certainly lead me to question the veracity of all the "gritty and true" memoirs I read in the future. **Just noticed that I am posting this review on April Fools appropos!


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