Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"Shining City"

Seth Greenland is the author of The Bones. An award-winning playwright, he has also written extensively for film and television.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new book, Shining City, and reported the following:
Shining City is the story of what happens when Marcus Ripps, a middle class guy who is down on his luck, inherits a dry cleaner from his estranged brother that turns out to be a front for a high priced call girl ring. His mother-in-law needs medical care and has no insurance, his son has a bar mitzvah coming up, and his wife’s business is struggling, so Marcus does some on-the-fly moral calculations and decides to become a “family values pimp.”

By page 69, Marcus only knows that his brother has died and he has been summoned to a reading of the will. It is late at night and he has been sitting in his living room with his dog Bertrand Russell, drinking whiskey and remembering his sibling, Julian.

From page 69:

Marcus finished his drink and poured another. The house was muffled in sleep. Images of Julian kept coming. As Marcus matured, he tried to see his brother as a wild child, refusing to be constrained by the dictates of bourgeois society - someone who merely wanted to roam free. But he knew in his heart that this was a fancy excuse. Julian was a criminal, and although Marcus could tie it up in theoretical ribbons and bows, there was no avoiding it. He drained the remains of his second whiskey, put fresh water in Bertrand Russell’s dish and went to bed.

What we see in this passage is the bourgeois householder ruminating from a comfortable distance about his more boundary-pushing sibling. But it is one of the last quiet moments before he, too, is drawn in a wilder direction.
Watch the video trailer for Shining City, and learn more about the author and his work at Seth Greenland's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue