Set in the late 1970s, shortly before the advent of the AIDS epidemic, an era still redolent of Vietnam and Watergate, Broken Record represents one man’s crossing through a transitional period in the nation’s history, as delineated in the madness of New York, when the city was infested with crime and unbridled sexuality. During this sordid and thrilling epoch in the city, Bobby Cahn, an underemployed man of 35 learns that the chronic stomach pains that have tormented him for a decade are not the stuff of hypochondria, but the lethal messiness of cancer. A large section of the book takes place in the hospital, The Gosmomberger Pavilion, where Bobby encounters doctors and staff that include, among others, a surgeon who extracts healthy pancreases that are subsequently employed in the preparation of gourmet dishes highlighting the organ, a sadistic aide, capable of committing mayhem on patients he finds annoying, and a nymphomaniac who seduces the dying. The tone of Broken Record is sardonic, reflecting damaged humanity, and a debauched, vacated society, but the mordant pitch of the novel cannot mask the grief and tragedy that mark the stations of Bobby’s passage; indeed the ineluctability of Bobby’s final reckoning proves that all men are Everyman--and that the demise of any single human being, even those who appear worthless and indecent in their lack of regard for others, brings universal mourning. Readers will not easily forget Bobby Cahn and the population of Broken Record.
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afternoon asked asshole Assistant Chief Barb bastard believe Belkin bitch Blanch Bobby Cahn body Bullethead bullshit can’t cancer chemo chemotherapy Chief of Staff Connie Cookie copywriter couldn’t damn death Demerol despised didn’t doctor don’t want dream dressed everything eyes fantasy feel fuck God’s Gosmomberger Pavilion hair Hatt hospital Iccles insisted iron lungs knew Lakeside laughed Leah Leah Hawthorne Leah’s leave live Logue Lois Lois’s look Mama masturbation Miller Huggins morning mother Munch Mutte never night Nurse Mutte one’s orgasm pain Pall Schlem pancreas Patient Cahn penis phoneroom piss Plitz Rachael remember Saltman schmuck screamed screwing sexual shit sick sleep smell smiled staring stomach tell There’s thought told tomorrow vomit We’re What’s wheel of fire who’s woman won’t worry Yankees you’ll you’re Zwick