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Organized around the idea that "you can't know what a magnetic field is like unless you're inside of it, " Ron Loewinsohn's first novel opens from the disturbing perspective of a burglar in the midst of a robbery and travels through the thoughts and experiences (both real and imaginary) of a group of characters whose lives are connected both coincidentally and intimately. All of the characters have a common desire to imagine and invent rather horrifying stories about the lives of people around them. As the novel develops, certain phrasings and images recur improbably, drawing the reader into a subtle linguistic game that calls into question the nature of authorship, the ways we inhabit and invade each other's lives, and the shape of fiction itself.
neatly folding them in half and sliding the wad deep into his pants pocket. From the shelf beside the register he took a half-pint bottle of Southern Comfort and put it in his back pocket. Then he moved to the back, to the door that led to the people’s apartment. And that was different too. The fact that the lights were on and the radio was playing made it seem even more strange, like another world or time, some other life. Other people lived their life here, something that absolutely excluded
this one more interesting was the fact that it came from his son, who obviously had known about it all along and had not thought it important enough to mention. And it had not been, up till now, worth mentioning. What could be more empty than an empty room? But now that it existed for him it began to be charged, filled with possibilities. It was necessary to set up some tables in the attic room, but Mr. Mortimer was glad for the room and for the trains and the landscape that he and the boy began
motif—a leather-and-neon high-tech “Disco” with flashing lights, an Arabian tent with ottomans and carpets, a “modern” room with a huge skylight window and lots of ferns and bare cedar. But it had only one vaguely international menu, so that it was possible to have enchiladas in the Arabian tent and stuffed grape leaves in the Disco. They ate in an approximation of the sort of ice-cream parlor the Bowery Boys hung out in. As they walked through the lunch crowd, he was aware how the men around him
And yet the walls had been here long before she ever saw the place—the rooms laid out and named—living room, dining room, bathroom—insisting on their function, oblivious to her. They would be these rooms to anyone. But they were Connie’s, he thought, feeling actually petulant and realizing as he was doing it that he was kicking his foot out once, sharply, as if stamping. “Hunh?” Connie had said. “Nothing,” he said, squeezing her shoulder. But the thought bothered him enough that he found
them surreptitiously. He began to see her picture around town, and once, on the wall of the Montgomery Street BART station, she was looking directly at him from across the tracks holding an enormous kosher salami. Something in Hebrew blazed out at him in red characters from the wall beside her perfect face. He had no idea what the writing said, but he looked into her eyes and looked at the way her hands held that salami and he felt the full weight of his happiness. Their final wrinkle on the