NEW YORK — Sunbury Press has released Matthew Taub’s first novel Death of the Dying City about the gentirification of New York City in the 1990s.
About the Book:
DEATH OF THE DYING CITY is a panorama of New York City’s rapid gentrification and shifting cultural enclaves in the 1990s. Rotating character-driven vignettes are connected by Mark Newstein, a young ethically-imperiled attorney facing additional issues of romantic upheaval.
It was a rather mundane, almost formulaic way to bring a crushing end to a career, Mark Newstein thought as he waited for his ethics committee hearing to begin. Yet despite this cynical, disengaged assessment, Mark remained paralyzed by fear. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest, every seemingly innocuous sight and sound—of workers gossiping while coming back from their coffee break, or the receptionist’s banter with a postal worker delivering a package—putting him further on edge. Mark was excitably unhinged, but also extremely fatigued—he hadn’t slept properly in several days. He tried to focus on anticipating the questions he would soon face. The committee would surely be asking him about his conduct and the questionable conduct of other members of his workplace over the past few years. It wasn’t every day that a law office boasting multi-million dollar profits, closely affiliated with another highly-visible firm advertising a catchy “1-800” number on every subway car, television channel, billboard, and radio station throughout the metropolitan area suddenly ceased to exist. The committee would want to know why.
Until they called him, the front reception area of Departmental Disciplinary Committee (“DDC”) was where Mark was forced to wait. This Downtown office was a fitting, funereal accompaniment for his demise: lights dimmed too low, blotched stains peppering a shabby carpet, lumpy couches, faded magazines, and a neglected potted plant wilting in the corner. The building itself was of faded stonework, sturdy but otherwise unremarkable. Manhattan’s own Ten Downing Street, this nondescript appearance belied the office’s enormous stature and power. When lawyers are first licensed to practice law, they are approved by a separate committee on Character & Fitness; the DDC was its own distinct entity that, depending on the circumstances, could later find that character to be sorely lacking. The committee had the power to reprimand, censure, sanction, suspend, and even disbar lawyers deemed unfit to continue practicing law. Mark Newstein was their next case to review.
Mark presented himself that morning in proper business attire, but otherwise was completely disheveled—unshaven cheeks brimming with prickly stubble, his auburn hair a shaggy mess, posture edgy, movements discombobulated. Hand gestures twitched with nervousness. The static silence of the waiting room provided little solace. He couldn’t bear to read any of the stale literature while he waited; instead, Mark simply began to reflect on his seemingly short-lived career. A young man at the end of his twenties, he had only practiced for a short period before it all came tumbling down. Shrewd and savvy enough to do well in his industry, he still knew well the ethical boundaries he never wanted to cross, regardless of whether there were repercussions. It was therefore with particular irony, and utter disbelief, that he marveled at the circumstances in which he found himself. The truth was that his fervent commitment to honesty and integrity, rather than saving him from this place, had only ushered him here more quickly.
Asforhisprivatelife,his“relationship”withStephanie, if that was even a proper title, seemed to be approaching its inevitable, crushing finality.Howlonghad itbeensince she stopped returninghiscalls?A partofhim alwaysknewthey weredoomed, but it was torture to think of her reluctant engagement to the man of her mother’s insistence. It all seemed so laughably antiquated for their modern times, yet too real to chuckle away. He thought of the mother, that bossy cow, and her obscene desire for that smiling moron. Mark kicked himself for being so poor a judge of character.
And then there was the city itself, permanently deranged. In the mere half decade Mark worked as a lawyer, the Big Apple was dragged, kicking and screaming, from its former destitute dereliction to present-day, gleaming modernity. While briefly achieving a pleasant homeostasis—that sought-after nexus between ghastly grit and sanitized sedation—it didn’t last. As ever more sprawling middle class and creative havens were reimagined as high-end locales, the new world priced itself out, made unaffordable as quickly as it became accessible, wiped clean of any character and instead morphed into a tourist’s playground, a cartoonish and corporate viewing spectacle. The ephemeral places and faces Mark knew were dying out, knocked over as they were like dominoes. As the dynamic metropolis he knew and loved came to an end, it seemed Mark would follow right along in it.
About the Author:
Matthew A. Taub is a lawyer, fiction writer, and occasional journalist living in Brooklyn, NY. His work has appeared in Absinthe Revival, The Weekenders, Red Ochre LiT’s BLACK&WHITE Magazine, The Squawk Back, Schlock Magazine, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The Fat City Review, Raw Fiction, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle,Greenpointers and Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.Est. 250 pages
DEATH OF THE DYING CITY is his first novel. Though a work of fiction, the work grew out of the author’s fascination with the traumatic history of New York City’s emergence from the doldrums, and his witnessing truly vexing issues involving the ugly underbelly to the legal profession and wanting more— more from the justice system, and more from the individuals who make a living within it.
Inspiration for the literary style and themes of the novel came many prior works, including Richard Price’s ”Lush Life,” Tom Wolfe’s ”Bonfire of the Vanities,” and Jonathan Lethem’s ”The Fortress of Solitude.”
What Others Are Saying:
— Joshua Baldwin, author of The Wilshire Sun
“A compelling mosaic of threatened artistic subcultures and boiling racial tensions in a city on the fast-track for change.”
— Andrew Cotto, author of Outerborough Blues
Death of the Dying City
Authored by Matthew Taub
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
Sunbury Press, Inc.
BISAC: Fiction / Legal
Also available on Kindle
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