Friday, 20 April 2018

"Chicago" A new novel by David Mamet (2018)

I nearly gave up - the first 40 odd pages are interminable Mamet-babble. However, verbal virtuosity becomes more meaty story-telling by Chapter 5. Chicago in the mid 1920's - the bustling newsroom of the Chicago Tribune, florists, funerals, gun-running, speakeasies, bordellos and nightclubs - is evocatively captured. Mamet co-wrote the screenplay for De Palma's "The Untouchables".

Mike Hodge is the guilt-ridden, Great War-obsessed central character; Parlow, the cynical friend and fellow-reporter. Peekaboo is the wise madam and confidante to Mike. There is a fascinating account of aviator Bessie Colman. Colourful minor characters - con artists, burglars, police officers - give the story more substance.
About two-thirds in, it loses pace again.
If you are expecting mob violence and gangland machinations a la "Boardwalk Empire", you will be sorely disappointed. Much like the New York reporter's long-winded anecdote about adultery and a hunting rifle - the resolution, when it finally comes, is a bit of a fizzer.
Though interesting, I was perplexed by the insertion of a lengthy anecdote concerning Darrow and the Leopold & Loeb court case in the final chapter.

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