The Château: A Novel

Front Cover
Picador, Feb 13, 2018 - Fiction - 384 pages

"We have proverb in Florida...You know why it's good to be on beach?"

Bill smiles, but says nothing. He wants the guy to keep talking.

"Because on beach you are surrounded by idiots on only three sides."

"And on the remaining side you have what?" asks Bill.

"Sharks..."

Paul Goldberg, the acclaimed author of The Yid, takes us behind the scenes of a Florida condo board election, delivering a wild spin on Miami Beach, petty crime, Jewish identity, and life in Trump's America.

It is January 2017 and Bill has hit rock bottom. Yesterday, he was William M. Katzenelenbogen, successful science reporter at The Washington Post. But things have taken a turn. Fired from his job, aimless, with exactly $1,219.37 in his checking account, he learns that his college roommate, a plastic surgeon known far and wide as the “Butt God of Miami Beach,” has fallen to his death under salacious circumstances. With nothing to lose, Bill boards a flight for Florida’s Gold Coast, ready to begin his own investigation—a last ditch attempt to revive his career.

There’s just one catch: Bill’s father, Melsor.

Melsor Yakovlevich Katzenelenbogen—poet, literary scholar, political dissident, small-time-crook—is angling for control of the condo board at the Château Sedan Neuve, a crumbling high-rise in Hollywood, Florida, populated mostly by Russian Jewish immigrants. The current board is filled with fraudsters levying “special assessments” on residents, and Melsor will use any means necessary to win the board election. And who better to help him than his estranged son?

As he did in The Yid, Paul Goldberg has taken something we think we know and turned it on its ear. Featuring a colorful cast of characters, The Château guarantees that you will never look at condo boards, crime, kleptocracy, vodka, Fascism, or Florida the same way again.

 

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The Chateau

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Goldberg’s second novel, after The Yid, is a salty, witty, tragic comedy that mocks Russian Jewish immigrants, Florida retirees, condo living, “Donal’d Tramp,” elderly sex, old folks who scam the ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

It is January 2017, and Bill has hit rock bottom. Yesterday, he was William M. Katzenelenbogen, successful science reporter at The Washington Post, with years of experience and industry awards; however, things have taken a turn. Fired from his job, aimless, with exactly $1,219.37 in his checking account, he learns that his college roommate, a plastic surgeon known far and wide as the “Butt God of Miami Beach,” has fallen to his death under salacious circumstances. With nothing to lose, Bill boards a flight for Florida's Gold Coast, ready to begin his own investigation – a last-ditch attempt to revive his career.
There's just one catch: Bill's father, Melsor.
Melsor Yakovlevich Katzenelenbogen – poet, literary scholar, political dissident, small-time crook – is angling for control of the condo board at the Château Sedan Neuve, a crumbling high-rise in Hollywood, Florida. The current board is filled with fraudsters in cahoots with contractors and levying “special assessments” on residents, and Melsor will use any means necessary to win the board election. Who better to help him – through means both legal and illegal – than his estranged son?
The Château guarantees that you will never look at crime, condo boards, kleptocracy, vodka, or Florida the same way again.
(Description, edited, is taken from the inner flap of the hardcover book jacket.)
This book for a good part of it induced a meh attitude. It's probably because the book is infused with much black humor,and one has to be in the proper mood when reading.
I still liked it enough to whiz through it in less than three days and will read Goldberg's next book. (I read his first book,The Yid, last year when it came out.) While it might not be five-star worthy, I'm giving it four stars. I guess I'm an easy grader.
Be forewarned: If you like Donald Trump and the ideals for which he stands, you probably shouldn't read this book.
 

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
18
Section 3
36
Section 4
44
Section 5
54
Section 6
61
Section 7
64
Section 8
100
Section 17
216
Section 18
226
Section 19
241
Section 20
256
Section 21
267
Section 22
293
Section 23
295
Section 24
314

Section 9
111
Section 10
126
Section 11
135
Section 12
143
Section 13
145
Section 14
168
Section 15
183
Section 16
208
Section 25
332
Section 26
343
Section 27
353
Section 28
360
Section 29
365
Section 30
373
Copyright

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About the author (2018)

Paul Goldberg’s debut novel The Yid was published in 2016 to widespread acclaim and named a finalist for both the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the National Jewish Book Award’s Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction. As a reporter, Goldberg has written two books about the Soviet human rights movement, and has co-authored (with Otis Brawley) the book How We Do Harm, an expose of the U.S. healthcare system. He is the editor and publisher of The Cancer Letter, a publication focused on the business and politics of cancer. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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