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Review Excerpts

USA Today – February 4, 2008
“Langer has that rare combination of fierce intelligence, wicked wit and the ability to make you turn the pages at wrist-splintering speed. This is one of the very best recent novels of New York – one that skewers not only real estate, but the magazine and publishing worlds, the Ivy League and the theater scene...Langer sees through the pomposity, ambition and ridiculousness of his characters but loves them anyway... A sprawling social satire so deft that Langer even pulls off chapters from the perspective of Ike's dog.”
-- David Daley

Chicago Tribune – February 2, 2008
“Ellington Boulevard proves that this gifted satirist and storyteller can move with ease from city to city and character to character…Most good drama derives from... moments of transition, and this ‘Novel in A-Flat’ proves the point in abundance. One can quibble about how to identify Ellington Boulevard – 21st Century novel of manners or narrative musical – but Adam Langer leaves little doubt that he is a rarity among contemporary writers: a keen-edged satirist who at the same time is too fond of his characters to dismiss them. Sometimes even fools and sinners deserve a happy ending.”
-- Porter Shreve

New York Post– January 27, 2008
“[A] glorious comedy of gentrification, rent control and love. Langer's witty novel is an ode to a gritty stretch of real estate on the Upper West Side. Langer excels at digging into the nitty gritty of his setting... Like all musicals, there are the lead characters' trials and cliffhangers...Langer is gleeful in using the plot tools of chance, coincidence and happy endings that were the backbone of old Broadway musicals.” – Dylan Foley

New York Times Book Review– January 27, 2008
“A mosaic depicting the love lives and housing destinies of 10 major characters… Langer arranges these daisy chains and six-degrees diversions with finesse. Ellington Boulevard doesn’t try to carry its musical-theater conceit very far in formal terms, but the frequent breadth of its characterizations and the occasional depth of its sappiness bespeak a certain drama-geek quality. At its core… Ellington Boulevard possesses a streetwise sentimentality that feels authentic.” – Troy Patterson

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – January 27, 2008
“Clever… Inventive, funny and touching... The story evolves like a complicated jazz piece, riffing on various situations and featuring characters that Langer labels by their function in the tale...Their web of interrelationships deepens as the novel progresses, giving "Ellington Boulevard" a texture that makes it a pleasure to read. But the real joy comes from the humor that Langer injects into almost every page. Along with the real-estate market, Langer also spoofs other aspects of life that are uniquely New York: musical theater, academic life at Columbia and, of course, the magazine culture... It's all a delight, ingeniously plotted and expertly written.” – Dale Singer

New York Daily News – January 26, 2008
“Wacky and wonderful… In this quintessentially New York tale...the sale of Apt. 2B at 64 W. 106th St. becomes just one chapter in the life of ‘The Tenant,’ which is interwoven with that of ‘The Buyer’… ‘The Buyer's Husband’… ‘The Broker’… ‘The Seller’… and a chorus of neighbors, bosses, therapists, ex-wives and fellow dreamers. Together, they make Ellington Boulevard a nice place for a reader to visit and show us the Big Apple is a small world - or maybe a ‘handyman's special’ with no space but great potential.” – Jane H. Furse

Time Out New York – January 24, 2008
“In Ellington Boulevard, Adam Langer’s incredibly light third novel, the gentrifying Upper West Side provides a complex and ideal backdrop for a la ronde involving a musician on the verge of eviction, his rescued dog, the people who are buying his apartment, a family of pigeons and an editor at The American Standard who has a secret past. There is… an unexpected charm in the way Langer choreographs these people’s destinies. Like the musical adaptation that punctuates the narrative, Ellington Boulevard doesn’t aspire to do more than entertain—and with numbers like ‘Will You Love Me When the Boom Is Over?,’ it certainly does.” – Ken Foster

Houston Chronicle – January 24, 2008
“Langer's imagination is linked to cities. Ellington Boulevard, which is Realtor-speak for West 106th Street, embraces New York. The story, which features a Broadway-musical-size cast of characters, centers on the sale of a modest apartment in a rapidly gentrifying area of the Upper West Side. At its best, the novel matches [protagonist] Rebecca's vision of Eighth Avenue: ‘positively pulsing with life.’ Taking his cue from the jazz master who gives his name to both the book and the street that is its main ‘stage,’ Langer riffs deliciously on everything from academic pretentiousness to fashions in dog-naming. Langer's narrative skills are admirable.” – Robert Cremins

Velocity Week – January 23, 2008
“Adam Langer's third novel is a tour de force revolving around one Manhattan apartment, and all the lives that change in the course of its sale – including a jazz musician, a real estate agent who'd rather be an actor and the most irritating graduate student ever. The pages can't turn fast enough.”

Los Angeles Times CalendarLive – January 20, 2008
“Langer keeps the action hopping, with characters popping out of this door, hurtling through that window. His enthusiasm never flags... Where Langer is at his best is in forgiving his characters their failures and frailties. His heroes win out in the end, but his villains lose little. Langer consigns none of them to anything worse than this or that small, private purgatory, which usually turns out to be a more comfortable fit than the demanding world of their dreams.” – Carol Anshaw

New York Observer – January 17, 2008

“In Adam Langer’s Ellington Boulevard, a cast of thrillingly nuanced characters spin around one another in pursuit of happiness, love and, above all, real estate. Through the hazy layers of pomo-lite and the crowd of antic characters, Mr. Langer is telling a story about how the city, and the people who live here, change. And whether 2B is the apartment of a bohemian jazzman or a yuppie couple, it’s still home for someone. ‘Whereas Chicago seemed be to all steady 4/4 time,’ Ike thinks, ‘in New York, the meter was constantly shifting.’ Here, it’s hip-hop fused with easy listening, and it sure sounds good.” – Adam Rathe

Tucson Citizen – January 17, 2008
“Langer has written a hysterical romp through Manhattan that is set during the recent real estate boom. This nifty little book does for the Big Apple what Crossing California did for Chicago as it serves up a side-splitting buffet of funny stories revolving around a regular two-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. Langer offers an intimate insight on just what it is that compels so many to choose to live in New York, a city of exorbitant rents, untenable living conditions, and ultimately, thrills and spills around every corner.”

Dame Magazine – January 10, 2008
“Crossing California author Adam Langer really ought to be a national treasure. His sentences surprise you like star bursts and he has the ability to inhabit not just his characters, but even their dogs. This jubilant new book, about the battle over a tiny Manhattan apartment, is really about the beating heart of marriages, the way desire (for people and for things) flickers and flames, and it's also a Valentine to a majestic city. Smart, funny and downright irresistible.” – Caroline Leavitt

St. Petersburg Times – January 6, 2008
“New York City is a town of revised dreams, where idealists come with dreams of fame and fortune and either become the hunched shoulders on which the Big Apple stands, or move on to other, revised lives, for better or for worse. Langer writes beautifully about the city and how it is stunning and crushing at the same time. But Ellington Boulevard isn't all bleak, because sometimes that revised dream is a better fit. What kind of musical would end on a depressing note?” – Jen A. Miller

Publishers Weekly – October 3, 2007
“An apartment on West 106th Street (aka Ellington Boulevard) links a disparate group of New Yorkers in this intricate tale of life, love and real estate. Langer (Crossing California; The Washington Story) takes his time in developing the characters and the depths of their interconnectedness, rendering the twists, doubts and heartbreaks that afflict the milieu highly affecting. For readers who turn first on Sunday morning to the real estate section, it doesn’t get much better.”
 

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