I Am Death: Two Novellas
Exploring the paranoia and bravura of the modern American male, these novellas depict a realm marked by faltering blunders, misguided intentions, and the fear of failure.
"I Am Death, or Bartleby the Mobster" charts the slumped career of a muckraking journalist, Jack, who has managed to attract the attention of Frank Fini, one of Chicago's great mob bosses. Fini compels Jack to ghostwrite his autobiography, A Boy's First Book of Mobsters, and so begins a journey at once comical and terrifying, as Jack attempts to restore his career, revive his ex-wife's interest in him, and stay one step ahead of Fini and his lawyer, who are themselves scrambling to retain control of their crumbling empire.
Alternately satirical and tender, "Peasants" takes as its setting the modern corporate office, in this case a publisher of guides for users of geographic information systems. After a string of successes Walter Rasmussen regards himself as a key player. But as a special project falters and he finds his position put in jeopardy by a new manager, he begins to suspect his colleagues of sabotage.
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