Kissing in Manhattan: Stories, David Schickler, 2001

What a strange and wonderful book Schickler has written.  Recommended by a friend in Chicago, I had never heard of the book or the author, but quickly fell under its spell.  The author draws startlingly vivid portraits of many characters who we meet in the course of their daily lives in Manhattan, largely around the Upper West Side apartment building, the Preemption, with its strange doorman and the oldest Otis elevator in the city.  Patrick Rigg, James Branch, Father Thomas Merchant and a bevy of attractive and submissive women intersect at work, the apartment building, a Wall Street church, Fat Michael’s restaurant, the Minotaur bar and other weird and strange places.  Love, sex, mystery, alienation, tragedy lead to the clash and ultimate shooting of two of the characters by a third.  Powerfully weird and strangely gripping, or as several reviews observed ‘surreal’ and filled with ‘magical realism’.