This book by David Schickler was a book club selection. Once again, I’m glad I didn’t buy it.It’s OK, but not great. It tells the intersecting stories of some of the residents of the Preemption, a Manhattan apartment building. The outstanding feature of the building is its elevator-the oldest working Otis elevator in the city. One of the residents of the building, in fact, spends one hour each night inside the elevator, just talking to the elevator. Strange, yes, but he is not the strangest resident of the Preemption.
In fact, most of the characters in this book are so strange, they are hardly believable. I hesitate to call this book a novel, because its seems more a collection of portraits strung together. I kept waiting for a plot line to develop; I guess I’m really old-fashioned that way!
Another disappointing note is that this book does not even depict a very interesting or exciting Manhattan. I contrast this to the Tales of the City series of books by Armistead Maupin. The true stars in that series are Mrs. Madrigal and her tenants on Barbary Lane in San Francisco. The stories in that series intersect in much the same way as Kissing in Manhattan, but the people are much more interesting.
There is more to making characters interesting than just making them strange.
Published in hardcover-Random House 2001
Softcover edition-Dial Press 2002