Synopses & Reviews
The famously false memoirs of James Frey may be yesterday’s news, but as this funny riff reminds us, literary fakes are as old as literature itself. Ian Minot is an aspiring writer who labors over short stories that seem destined to remain unread. His beautiful Romanian girlfriend, Anya Petrescu, finds success more easily—and leaves Ian for Blade Markham, a bloviating ex-gangbanger whose “so-called memoir” is a best-seller. When Ian is approached by ex-editor Jed Roth, who wants Ian to publish Jed’s pulpy tale of book theft and murder as a memoir, then renounce it, it’s a chance for both of them to get revenge: Jed on his former employer, and Ian on the world. Although Langer may be too cute for some (he employs made-up slang in which a penis is a portnoy), he does an engaging job with the hall-of-mirrors plot. And if readers can predict that the book they’re reading is the one that Ian ends up writing, they’ll never guess the ending. Just when you want a surprising twist, Langer delivers several.
"Langer (Crossing California) delivers an ber-hip caper that pays homage to and skewers the state of publishing and flash-in-the-pan authors. Aspiring writer Ian Minot toils in a New York City diner, enraged because he can't get published. His jealousy is pushed to the edge because he suspects the bestselling memoir about drug addiction and being in a gang by no-talent Blade Markham is a fake. Then Ian's Romanian girlfriend, Anya Petrescu, easily finds a publisher for her short stories. Ian becomes the latest author to be embroiled in a headline-making literary scam when he can't resist a scheme in which he passes off another man's novel about a valuable manuscript as his own memoir. The consummate con game takes a deadly turn after Ian realizes he doesn't understand the ramifications of his book nor does he control his emerging career. Part Bright Lights, Big City, part The Grifters, this delicious satire of the literary world is peppered with slang so trendy a glossary is included. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"How many novels begin with a Milli Vanilli quote? In the case of the funny and sharp Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer, the lyric 'Girl you know it's true' is particularly apt, as this clever tale blurs fact and fiction to riotous effect." Very Short List
"Wonderfully mischievous...as soulful and morally committed as it is funny and clever....If The Thieves of Manhattan were nothing more than a boisterous skewering of the crisis-ridden publishing industry...it would still be a gas. But Langer has grander existential plans." The Los Angeles Times
"Just when you want a surprising twist, Langer delivers several. The truth is, he's got a wild imagination." Booklist
"A dizzyingly clever novel from Langer that explores the thin line between fact and fiction, and between memoir and novel....Lots of fun." Kirkus Reviews
"A dizzyingly inventive comic thriller that is at once a sardonic take on the hypocrisies of the publishing world and an exploration of the sometimes fluid boundaries between the real and the imaginative in literature. Smart, original, and highly recommended." Library Journal
"As a lampoon of the modern book industry, The Thieves of Manhattan is near perfection. With its vicious satire of the culture of celebrity and the loss of principles in the A Million Little Pieces scandal, it makes an exciting read that will put a dark smile on the face of anyone discouraged by the downward spiral of literature." The Daily Beast
"Hysterically funny....Langer has written an immensely clever novel, by turns tenderhearted and satirical....The Thieves of Manhattan is finally a marvelous yarn, a glorious paean to good books and to those who shepherd them into the world, a tale of redemption as cheering as Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys." The Chicago Tribune
An aspiring writer with a low-paying day job at a coffee shop becomes embroiled in an elaborate scheme to create a fake memoir of his own. Ian quickly realizes that fact and fiction can be dangerously intertwined.
About the Author
Born and raised in Chicago, Adam Langer is the author of the novels Ellington Boulevard, Crossing California, and The Washington Story. He lives in New York City.