GANGSTERS by Evan Zimroth


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 An idealized attempt at kinky eroticism, laced liberally with theology, puts two adulterers in an empty Manhattan apartment where they can moan and shudder, then reflect on love and sin, in CUNY professor Zimroth's oddly dispassionate debut. When Jewish Nicole, a philandering professor with a taste for quirky and dirty sex in between classes and carpooling her kids to school, meets Christian Tom, an architect on the skids who still keeps up appearances with his silver-tipped walking stick, the attraction is immediate and mutual. To the dismay of Jules, Nicole's colleague who introduced them, and who is long accustomed to enjoying stand-up quickies with her himself, the two begin to have long lunches together at Tom's favorite restaurant, where they discuss everything from Leviticus to sainthood while he tests her pain threshold under the table. Eventually, Nicole hands over the keys to a departed friend's apartment, and they retreat to its bare floors to get naked, drink wine, and explore ways to overcome Tom's impotence. This soulmate brand of intimacy, while apparently genuine, isn't enough to prevent them from lying shamelessly to each other, though; Tom even manages to steal Nicole's Mastercard in a way that makes her think her husband, a cash-strapped documentary-film producer, is the culprit. But it's Jules who gives their liaison the ultimate deconstructive twist when, in a funk over life, his wife, and Nicole, he--well, best leave it unsaid for now--on his living-room couch when Nicole still refuses to take him seriously after he's met her over coffee to tell her of his plan. Much of this is about as titillating as a Dead Sea Scroll, and far less credible, but there are hints of greater storytelling ability in the climax, as matters move from dalliance and duplicity to the basics of life and death.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-517-70309-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1996


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