Peter Hamill’s TABLOID CITY

I was drawn to this book after reading a couple of interviews the author did with Pete Dexter and Carl Hiaasen. The book is set in a New York newspaper over 24 hours as the paper is wound up. It is an intriguing look at the death of a newspaper and those that are affected as well as an exploration of contemporary America post-GFC and the subprime mortgage fiasco.

There is no central character to the novel. Instead we follow a cast of characters ranging from a newspaper editor and a journalist thorough to a New York socialite and a policeman. Each character is linked in some way and the newspaper is the central thread that keeps all these stories together.

This is a compelling read and I found the scenes involving the newspaper very insightful. It reminded me a bit of the fifth season of The Wire but maybe not as political, which has its pros and cons. The only downside is a terrorism storyline which is a bit heavy-handed and doesn’t quite fit with the tone the other storylines achieve. But this is only a minor drawback.

The life and passion of those in the newspaper for their work and their city is blended brilliantly with a sense that the best of America maybe behind it. I would have loved to spend more time with all the characters within the paper but I guess that wish feeds perfectly with the mourning that occurs in the story when the newspaper is actually gone.

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