Sunday, March 8, 2009

'The tenants of moonbloom' by Edward Wallant

Book recommendations, recommendations of anything, can be difficult things to write - especially when the writer of such/reader is a fan. Most people would have only a very fleeting acquaintance with the work of Edward Wallant: film fans will perhaps be familiar with the Sydney Lumet picture based on Wallant's earlier novel 'The Pawnbroker.' 

And this is the tragedy.

Edward Lewis Wallant is one of the genuinely great voices in twentieth century fiction; comparable to, in America at least, only Nathanael West - with whom he shares the same concerns and convictions. His most lasting legacy is this incomparable work of the highest art - partly allegorical, it follows the story of the younger brother of Irwin Moonbloom - the owner of a number of run down Manhattan apartment buildings. The book, using the most bewitching of prose styles, describes Norman Moonbloom's partially lived life as he collects rent/back monies from a collection of people society has chosen to forget and who, both individually and collectively, want to involve him in the remnants of their lives. 

It is also one of the truly great American works of comedy fiction with echoes of Vonnegut, Dawn Powell and John Kennedy Toole. Enrich your life and read this book of books.

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