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Kissing in Manhattan by David Schickler
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Kissing in Manhattan (2001)

by David Schickler

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5781517,114 (3.66)7
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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I found this dissapointing overall. I read it for my book group/duo and the other member commented it was more like a series of studies for a novel. I just started disliking most of the characters and their painfully rich and disturbed Manhattan lives. It was clever and interesting how he connected up some of the stories and characters but not enough so that is became a cohesive entire novel. I felt more duty bound to finish Manhattan, I didn't really worry too much about who might end up with whom and if Patrick Rigg would turn out to be a great guy or die or whatever. Actually, the last two chapter/stories turned out to be the most cohesive and I wish the begining had been a little bit more thought through. I disliked Patrick as well, also took a swift and visceral dislike to Checkers, who, thankfully, almost never reappeared. I'm not sure I would have liked it more if had been fleshed out and turned into a proper novel but perhaps I would have felt less annoyed while reading it. Perhaps all the little bits of pseudo magic realism would have felt less intrusive as well. Think this is bound for BookCrossing.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
"The Smoker" is brilliant and delightful. The rest, not so much. I found the characters unbelievable and the writing to be uneven--there's a limit to the number of times I can hear a man described as having "sleepy blue eyes and straight teeth" by different narrative voices. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 4, 2014 |
This is a collection of loosely connected stories whose characters all live in the same apartment building in Manhattan. Falling somewhere between a novel and short stories, this book fails on both ends. The stories are too disconnected to achieve the flow of a novel or for the reader to care much about the characters’ development, but they are too interconnected to really stand on their own.

The writing is, for the most part, very good, but the characters are often unsympathetic and alien. Some judicious editing would have helped this book; for instance, the story “Jacob’s Bath” could have safely been cut, which would have made for a stronger book. However, a few stories stand out and are good enough to stand on their own; two of my favorites were “Fourth Angry Mouse,” about a failed comedian who finds his voice in the persona of a giant mouse in an off-Broadway play, and “The Opals,” about a man who meets a strange Hephaestian jeweler in the basement of a sex shop and receives a gift of the earrings he will someday give to the woman he loves. I could have left the rest of the volume alone, though.

Read in 2002. Given to me by a friend. ( )
  sturlington | Feb 24, 2012 |
I loved this book. It's lovely and idiosyncratic, and quite unexpected. Schickler made be laugh (something a book rarely makes me do), but he also impressed me with the sensitivity with which he handled his fragile characters. The structure is also great - it's a fully realized world constructed from different points of view (it's a novel in short stories), giving the reader the impression of looking through a keyhole into a variety of lives. There are a lot of threads to control, but Schickler does it well, and manages to keep them all pleasingly taut. ( )
  codexcat | Sep 2, 2010 |
Cerebral in structure, but sweet and vulnerable in execution. ( )
  cowbellemoo | Jan 7, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
When two kisses kiss, it's like two tigers talking about infinity with their teeth. - Tess Gallagher
Dedication
with thanks and love to my parents Jack and Peggy Schikler and to my three sisters Anne Marie, Pamela, and Jeanne
First words
Donna didn't want to meet Checkers. It didn't seem right.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385335679, Paperback)

David Schickler's debut seems at first to be a lot of fun: a gaggle of young Manhattanites with fancy jobs and fine educations chase each other around town, falling in love or not. In a series of linked stories, Schickler gives us a perverted heiress; a bumbling schoolteacher whose teenage student proposes marriage to him; a bad comic who finds his métier in off-off-Broadway theater. The writing is cool and a bit willfully naive: "Rally McWilliams was profoundly lonely," begins the title story. "She wanted to believe that she had a soul mate, a future spouse gestating somewhere in Nepal or the Australian Outback. But in Manhattan, where Rally lived, all she found were guys."

The mood turns dark, however, with the introduction of Patrick, a thirtysomething Wall Street trader who collects women and spends his evenings tying them up in his room. In short order the book's easy comedy is torqued into something more dramatic by Patrick's descent into violence. That Schickler doesn't play to his strengths is not necessarily a bad thing: one admires a writer who reaches beyond facility to something more difficult. But the transition from lighthearted sexual ronde to dirty realism is a bit bumpy. On the other hand, the novel's picture of a dark, desire-ridden Manhattan is an attractively seductive slice of escapism. The linked-stories format gives rise to a feeling of multiplicity, which is just the right tone for a book about a city crowded with pleasures. Describing James, a love-struck young accountant, Schickler writes: "His mind tonight was on the fine and the illicit pleasures of the planet, on their merits and dispersement. Some people cut daisies, thought James. Some visit Wales, or choose cocaine, or dig latrines for the poor and the weak." Everyone, it seems, is after something different. But it's desire itself that interests the author of Kissing in Manhattan. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:22 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Hilarious, sexy, and deeply tender, Kissing in Manhattan was one of the most celebrated debuts in recent years. Acclaimed author David Schickler's collection of linked stories follows a troupe of love-hungry urbanites through a charmed metropolis and into the Preemption-a mythic Manhattan apartment building. The Preemption sets the stage for a romantic fantasy as exuberant, dark, and dazzling as the city it occupies. Behind closed doors, the paths of an improbable cast of tenants-a seductive perfume heiress; a crabby, misunderstood actor; a preternaturally sharp-sighted priest-tangle and cross, while a perilous love triangle builds around three characters: James Branch, a shy young accountant with an unusual love for the Preemption's antique elevator, and a strange destiny... Patrick Rigg, a Wall Street lothario who soothes his pain by seducing beautiful women, carrying a gun, and attending the nightly sermons of a foreboding priest... Rally McWilliams, a fetching, hopeful young writer who roams the city at night, searching for the soulmate she believes in but can't find... Charged with joy and a deadly sense of humor, Kissing in Manhattan is a daring new writer's vision of a world where men and women, good and evil, love and sex, meet, battle, and embrace on every street corner.… (more)

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