With a new introduction by Gerald Howard
Like a series of snapshots, this novel presents a picture of a particular Brooklyn neighborhood between the years 1935 and 1951, covering the Depression, World War II, the beginnings of the Cold War and the Korean War. In short, colorful, dramatic episodes, the book details the collapse of a basically decent, homogeneous, and honorable group of people into a greedy, ignorant, and slipshod conglomeration, corrupted by money made available by the war economy.
The neighborhood as a whole is the protagonist, although there are many characters who become familiar. Moving the way memory does, the narrative skips from episode to episode in no conventional time sequence, projecting indelible flashes of the past as they strike the mind. Gilbert Sorrentino has beautifully encompassed a section of America in this very human, funny, intelligent novel which re-creates perfectly the mood and the time of its inhabitants and its past.