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The Short (Pun Intended) Redemptive Life of Little Ned
Early in the twentieth century, three children of poor Jewish immigrants stagger beneath the grueling promise of the American Dream. In San Francisco, Nate Cohen, the pint-size son of an alcoholic prizefighter and Bohemian mother, turns to crime, flees to cook on cattle ranches as Ned Christianson and joins a Wild West show. Kayleh Rubenstein, red-headed daughter of a Chicago tailor, becomes the vaudeville star Clara Robbins, abused and descended into liquor and morphine. Jake Orlinsky, a New York orphan, picks pockets while performing as the magician Joseph Hartwig, briefly a pupil of Harry Houdini. The three meet at San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, part ways and, in Los Angeles, seek separate careers in silent films. After they reunite, two violent events produce tragedy and redemption.
The hottest nightclub star in 1930s Havana guards two secrets: She is a Polish-born American Jew, and she has a penis. This leaves Lola Flores living in constant fear. Cuba subjects her to assault and revolution. New York brings a volatile friendship with gangster Ben “Bugsy” Siegel, a treacherous champion in newspaper columnist Walter Winchell and a risky agreement with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Hollywood produces an ill-fated romance, a terrifying meeting in Las Vegas and gangland upheaval. In San Francisco, Lola confronts the House Un-American Activities Committee when she defends television star Lucille Ball. Battling inner demons, Lola walks a tightrope in a world that applauds her talent but refuses to accept her as she is.
The U.S.A. is history. In 2044, the Covenantal States of America constitutes a white-Christian autocracy echoing George Orwell’s banned classic, 1984. Washington pushes back against armed rebels, humor ridiculing tyranny and mushrooming graffiti referencing Orwell’s novel in the form of 2084. Sam Klein, a member of the Minyan, a clandestine group of stand-up comics, organizes a July Fourth comedy protest while his Indian-American wife Indira, a native Californian, faces deportation. The Fourth, celebrating an America made great yet again, brings unexpected fireworks.
Big Truth: New and Collected Stories
An astronaut turning 80 suffers a disturbing encounter. A hard-charging lawyer levitates. The Satan makes a cruel wager with God. America bans stand-up comedy. Thus begins a journey towards self-discovery concluding with four childhood friends taking a road trip fifty years after last all being together and laying their relationships bare. Twenty-five stories set in California, Oregon, New York, Israel and India examine ambition, loss, friendship, parenthood, memory and aging to consider elusive—and often painful—truths.
The Odd Plight of Adonis Licht
Perception and reality collide in a dark, witty fable combining a play on Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis with overtones of Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There. Adonis Licht, a nondescript museum art curator, is a loner whose closest friend is a mute bag lady shrouded in black. After sleeping four straight days, Adonis awakens to find himself handsome and athletic beyond his wildest dreams. Success proves to be something other than what he imagined.
Flight of the Spumonis
What drives a 13-year-old trapeze artist to run away from the circus? Marco Spolini flees an overbearing father, critical stepmother and smothering uncle. In this Huckleberry Finn for our time, Marco and a 15-year-old multiracial street kid named Jimmy Q journey from New York to Los Angeles across a 1980 America beset by economic and political frustration. They encounter a variety of overlooked people on the edge while a one-eyed female private eye hunts them relentlessly.
The Boy Walker
Brute Greenbaum faces challenges beyond those of ordinary 12-year-olds. Faded hearing, dimming eyesight, bad hips and a penchant for farting are normal for an English Bulldog equivalent to a human centenarian. A cantankerous lover of rabbinic wisdom, comedy and skateboarding, Brute struggles to hold together the remnants of his shattered San Francisco family. While living in the same house, Abbie, a 24-year-old dog walker, remains emotionally estranged from his father Morty more than a decade after the deaths of Abbie’s sister and mother. Mortality, jealousy and long-buried secrets present nothing—and everything—to laugh about.
This riotously funny satire/thriller set in the Central American coffee growing nation of San Cristo skewers the populist left and hyper-capitalist right. A would-be revolutionary who loves gourmet cooking takes on the world’s largest coffee company, Mobys, Inc., and its relentless founder determined to monopolize the market. American security advisor Bobby Gatling—previously caught in the treacherous politics of the Middle East—must search for a missing priest on whose safety a presidential election turns.
Moq’tar, a Persian Gulf sultanate guided by a Berkeley MBA with grandiose economic plans, faces dangerous instability when terrorism produces a deadlocked election that pits brother against brother. Bobby Gatling, American advisor to the Ministry of Security, finds himself caught in a web of treachery, blackmail and hypocrisy. Bobby must cope with an alcoholic U.S. ambassador and a puzzling cultural attaché while struggling with loneliness, doubts about American intentions and attacks on his life. A beautiful, tech-savvy princess with a questionable past lurks in the background.
God’s Others: Non-Israelites’ Encounters With God in the Hebrew Bible
Fascinating, often-overlooked stories of God’s biblical relationships with all humanity. Some non-Israelites encounter God directly, such as Abimelech, king of Gerar; Hagar, Abraham’s Egyptian concubine; Balaam, the Midianite prophet; and Job, an Uzzite who confronts God’s seeming injustice. Others experience God indirectly, including the Pharaoh of the Exodus; Rahab, harlot of Jericho, who protects Joshua’s spies; and Ruth, a Midianite who clings to her Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi, and becomes the great-grandmother of King David. Told with a storyteller’s flair and supported by traditional and modern commentary.
Solo Success: 100 Tips for Becoming a $100,000-a-Year Freelancer
After more than twenty years, Solo Success still offers a comprehensive, step-by-step handbook for freelancers and consultants. David, after years as a successful freelance advertising copywriter and broadcast producer, provides critical advice on thinking like a CEO, setting income goals, managing time and building long-term client relationships. Grateful readers sent their thanks from across the United States, Scandinavia, Russia and the Philippines. Published by Three Rivers Press/Random House, New York, 1998.