It's the boom years of the 1980s, and life is closing in on Nathan Seltzer, who rarely travels outside his suddenly gentrifying Lower East Side neighbourhood. While he tries to decide whether he should cheat on his wife with Karoline, a German pastry chef whose parents may or may not have been Nazis, his father, Harry, is plotting with the 1960s boogaloo star Chow Mein Vega for the comeback of this dance craze. Meanwhile, a homicidal drug addict is terrorizing the neighbourhood.
With its ensemble cast of unforgettable characters, Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue is a comedy of cultures about the old and the new, about Latinos, Jews, Sicilians and Germans. It's about struggling to hold onto life in a rapidly changing world, about food and sex and about how our lives are shaped by love and guilt.
A marvellous debut by any standards... Beautifully done
Witty, hard-edged and mouth-watering. A tightly crafted, vibrant book filled with the romance and hardships of family life, violence, music and butter
Rich and compelling. Warm social comedy, period detail and perceptive psychology... Kurlansky writes from the heart and taste-buds
Whimsical. Kurlansky's powers of description and humour are abundantly engaging... [An] impassioned, nostalgic, charmingly written novel
Exuberant...hilarious. Recipes for some of the mouth-watering dishes mentioned in the book provide a satisfactorily eccentric coda to an original New York novel