Just finished an amazing book that I had never heard anything about, which I picked up on a whim after reading the first page. I love it when that happens. “Kissing In Manhatten” by David Schickler. It’s his first novel. He creates beautiful screwed-up achingly lonely characters who somehow meet up in configurations that work for only them. That might be enough, but his writing style matches the precise and unpredictable nature of their lives. It’s such a joy just to read how he hears words.
The guests arrived at midnight. It was only a Tuesday, and not even Christmas yet, but spirits were high. Like Patrick most of the men had packed themselves into suits, and they swept into the apartment bearing bottles of Old Grand-dad for their host. James sat on the couch, nursing the same beer he’d held for an hour, watching the cast of the next two weeks take shape. There was Henry Shaker, who worked at FAO Schwarz and who had one giant, united eyebrow. Wrapped in a white scarf that he refused to remove was Tony DiPreschetto, the suprisingly down-to-earth cellist, and with him was Jeremy Jax, a crabby actor. Two Iranian gentlement sat beside James on the couch. They ate Toblerone chocolate and wouldn’t reveal their names.
And that first page?
Donna didn’t want to meet Checkers. It didn’t seem right.
“Checkers? What kind of a name for a man is Checkers?”
“He’s strange,” admitted Lee.
Lee and Donna sold Manhattan real estate. They were in their early thirties. They shared an office on Bleecker Street.
“Checkers.” Donna tried it on her tongue. “Checkers. Checkers.”
“He’s attractive,” said Lee.
“Checkers is a name for a dog. Or a henchman.” Donna stared at her computer screen. Listed on it were SoHo prices.
“He’s strange but attractive,” said Lee.
“A henchman in a movie.” Donna wore a suit and important shoes. “Not a nemesis. Not suave like that. Just a henchman.”
See? I had no choice.