A review in A-flat…Posted: February 28, 2008
To say that I am a fan of the work of Adam Langer is an understatement. I picked up his first novel, Crossing California, on a lark at Border’s four years ago (I liked the cover). It didn’t take me long to completely fall in love with the novel, its characters and its setting (Chicago).
Langer’s follow up, Washington Story, was great as well. It was a perfect sequel, taking the characters of Crossing California in interesting new directions while remaining true to their original characterizations.
Langer’s newest book, Ellington Boulevard, is different. It’s not set in the same “world” as his previous two books (though there are a few cloy references to them) and the setting is New York, not Chicago.
Yet as Langer branches out as an author, what dazzled me about his previous two outings remains: his sharp character work that even makes assholes seem sympathetic or at least understandable; his fluid dialogue that comes very close to capturing the way people actually talk; the way every character is subtly (and unsubtly) interconnected; the way his plot often seem like controlled chaos.
Thus Ellington Boulevard is a great novel and a great successor to Langer’s previous work. Anyone interested in a character centered, funny novel should check it out. You won’t be disappointed.