Garrison And Diana
Garrison took Diana’s arm and steered her to the elevator down to the trains. He hadn’t met her parents until a month after they married and his first reaction had been revulsion that she carried their genes.
They’d been happy to learn his father was a doctor. Big income! Some of it might flow to them. Now, two years later, they felt cheated—no big income, nor even a job. Maybe he was living off Diana. That was what they had hoped to do.
So far, Diana hadn’t become pregnant. People who knew her supposed it was because she was too intense about her job. It did not displease him that that was what people who knew her supposed. He’d come to accept that his father would die without grandchildren. Read the rest of this entry »
Garrison And His Father
Garrison put down the phone and helped his father up the long hallway to the bedrooms, surprised at how thin his thick arm had grown. His father had been born in Hell’s Kitchen before they invented the electric light and learned to walk with a swagger and swing his arms when he left the house. If that didn’t work, he threw the first punch. He still had his Hell’s Kitchen swagger but had lost muscle these last years. Even his height had diminished. Helping him up the hallway, Garrison had a sudden vision of his future-self shuffling up the same hallway, bleeding, enfeebled, alone. He saw a pool on the floor in the hallway, another on the bedroom floor.
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The time is 1963. The place is Manhattan. To pay his dying father’s hospital bills, ex-Army Ranger Jake Garrison must accept another company downsizing assignment. He’s expert at the job, but hates the pain, and this time the target is the iconic Kensington Typewriter Company. Worse, the paymaster will be “vulture capitalist” Charles Carnusty, whom Garrison suspects of seducing his wife, Diana. She is a top executive at Colepool Publishers, another nineteenth century icon, which recently made the mistake of going public and is now feeling twentieth century financial pressures. Diana blames Garrison for failing to make her pregnant.
As Garrison overturns stones inside Kensington, he meets a cast of executives, workers and wives who have given their careers to a company that allowed itself to become trapped in a doomed technology.
Diana becomes more frigid; their circle of her literary and artistic friends, all pursuing their own versions of the 1960s American dream, turn more distant and hostile.
Racism, feminism, poverty, corporate outsourcing, the line between vulture and venture capitalism all come into focus as President Kennedy is gunned down in Dallas and Kitty Genovese is stabbed to death in Kew Gardens. When Diana unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Garrison is convinced he is not the father.
An abrasive look at the era of “Mad Men,” Succession’s cast of vividly drawn characters speak a dialogue one reviewer called “laced with testosterone in a novel whose every page has a distinctive, almost uncomfortable realism.”
“Succession” is Lobsenz’s second novel. His first was the Harper Prize winning and best selling “Vangel Griffin.”
Coming in 2012, a new novel by Lobsenz
What started me writing was watching things disappear. The flowers on the dining table disappeared fast; the rubber plant on the radiator cover, more slowly. The gaunt woman in the black bonnet and black dress down to her ankles who came every Wednesday, ate one boiled egg, one boiled potato and washed our laundry on the scrubbing board in the laundry sink next to the kitchen sink disappeared. Read the rest of this entry »
Because of her age, Miss Magill would leave the room for a few minutes from time to time. When she did, she brought in one of her former students, now in the upper grades, to serve as monitors. (This was before they opened Joan of Arc Junior High; P.S. 166 still went up to eighth grade.) The monitors–always girls–were taller and older, intimidating not just through residual fear of Miss Magill, but through their size and age. Any sign of disorder and a glance from them stopped us cold. Read the rest of this entry »
First, children must want to read,” Miss Anna F. Magill would tell the teachers who came from all over the United States to learn her methods. “And second, they must have something worth reading.” She’d taught longer than any other teacher in any other school in New York City and always at P.S. 166 on Eighty-Ninth between Amsterdam and Columbus. She was the author of nine Anna F. Magill Readers and three Anna F. Magill teaching manuals, published by Ginn and Company of Boston and year after year, she terrified the first grade students in our school. She terrified their parents, too. She even terrified the principal. Or maybe it was awe. Read the rest of this entry »
Following their Horrors Of War cards, Gum Inc. brought out a series Play Ball cards in the late 1930s and early ‘forties. They came two to a penny pack of bubble gum with a ballplayer’s picture on the front of the card, and on the back, the name of his team, his position, his birth date and a paragraph about how good he was. The first set came out in 1939, with players from all sixteen Major League teams except the Chicago Cubs. Read the rest of this entry »
One day when I came home from school, a woman who didn’t speak English was in our living room sewing a dress on my mother’s sewing machine. My mother spoke to her by using the dictionary she’d bought for her Spanish class. After the woman left, my mother said she was from Barcelona. Her husband had been a doctor, like my father, but he’d been killed in one of Franco’s air raids. Now she was a refugee and had to support herself by making dresses. Read the rest of this entry »