In “Alternate Side” by Anna Quindlen, a white lawyer neighbor hits a Latino handyman with a golf club for blocking a parking lot entrance. Suddenly, a NY neighborhood’s veneer of acceptance and inclusion is peeled away, exposing both social and personal tensions. Quindlen, “one our most astute chroniclers of modern life”, manages “a verisimilitude that’s hard to achieve” (NY Times). In “The Italian Teacher” by Tom Rachman, the son of a famous artist paints a reproduction of his fathers’s work and passes it off as an original. Rachman “has a deft way of describing atrocious behavior without damning his characters” (The Post).
“Privately probing the public rooms
Peeking through keyholes in numbered doors
Where players lick their wounds & take temporary lovers
And pills & powder to get them through this passion play”