Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"The November Criminals"

Sam Munson's writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Times Literary Supplement, among other venues. He is the former online editor of Commentary magazine. Munson graduated from the University of Chicago in 2003, and he lives in New York City.

He applied the Page 69 Test to The November Criminals, his first novel--released last month, and reported the following:
Is page 69 characteristic of The November Criminals as a larger work? Luckily enough, yes! Which makes writing this easier, certainly, than having to stammer and bluff my way through an explanation of how well, maybe this page isn't exactly characteristic, but it certainly has its importance, you know, and like that's not such a bad thing in itself. But page 69, yes, is characteristic, as far as I can determine. It features the protagonist, high school senior Addison Schacht, dressed in a stolen tie and ill-fitting suit, talking his way into a police station under false pretenses in order to further his own investigation of a classmate's murder:
I'd put on my holiday suit, lawyer-black, for the occasion, and a tie I'd swiped from my father's closet. Also, for some reason, I was carrying a briefcase with nothing in it, this old narrow-gauge black attaché my father discarded when I was eleven and which seemed to me the height of aesthetic magnificence then. Scars of use dented all its edges, and its vertices had been blunted by handling. I know now that I looked like a gawky, underfed idiot, someone über-insignificant. But I managed to convince myself then that I looked pretty goddam impressive.
He fails, of course, his plan goes stupidly awry, as should be obvious from the above, he humiliates himself utterly and desecrates the memory of the dead in doing so. Which is indeed characteristic of Addison: he manages to fuck up (almost) everything he touches. Let me say in his favor only that the police are even worse fuckups than he is, what with it being their job to solve crimes and all. That's a fairly juvenile argument, I know—they started it—but there it is, as the British say.
Read an excerpt from The November Criminals, and learn more about the book and author at Sam Munson's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue