A Novel by Ed Brodow

B. Wishner Review

Women From Venus
Four Short Novels

Fixer - A Novel by Ed BrodowDeserves to win the Pulitzer Prize

Review of Fixer by B. Wishner on

As a lifelong avid reader, I have been lamenting of late the absence of great storytelling. But now along comes Fixer and I have to say this is storytelling at its best: great setting, fascinating historical perspectives, colorful characters that I can care about, and story elements that are both exciting and emotionally moving.

Harry Leonnoff grows up in squalid poverty on the Lower East Side of New York City. At the age of nine, he gets polio and the doctors say he will never walk again. He fools them and by sheer force of character overcomes his lack of education to become a prominent political "fixer," meaning that he wields power in New York Democratic Party circles. He helps several mayors get elected, performs innumerable charitable acts, saves a German Jewish couple from Gestapo torture, and his pivotal role in the infamous Scottsboro case saves the lives of nine innocent black youths in Alabama. His love life is marred by a nagging wife who drives him into the arms of a beautiful New Orleans call girl. The resulting larger-than-life love affair is both exciting and tragic. Harry's career, as it turns out, is on a collision course with his psychotic ex-marine brother-in-law, Willie (nicknamed "Curly Murphy" at the First World War battle of Belleau Wood), and Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who sets Harry up on phony charges of misconduct. The lives of Harry, Willie, and Fiorello converge and reach a crescendo in the surprising climax.

My favorite chapter is the last one, in which Harry's grandson tries to make sense of the old man's life and death. This is Brodow's finest writing, as he explores the relationship of the living and the dead, of one generation to another. Some of it is pure poetry.
Fixer should be on everyone's list of must-reads.

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