Adam Langer Books In Order

Crossing California Books In Order

  1. Crossing California (2004)
  2. The Washington Story (2005)


  1. Ellington Boulevard (2008)
  2. The Thieves of Manhattan (2010)
  3. The Salinger Contract (2013)
  4. Cyclorama (2022)


Non fiction

  1. The Madness of Art (1996)
  2. My Father’s Bonus March (2009)

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Adam Langer Books Overview

Crossing California

Poignant, ambitious, and tremendously fun, Crossing California is the fiction discovery of the season a novel about two generations of family and friendship in Chicago from November 1979 through January 1981.

In 1979 California Avenue, in Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood, separates the upper middle class Jewish families from the mostly middle class Jewish residents on the east of the divide. This by turns funny and heartbreaking first novel tells the story of three families and their teenage children living on either side of California, following their loves, heartaches, and friendships during a memorable moment of American history. Langer’s captivating portraits, his uncanny and extraordinarily vivid re creation of a not so past time and place, and his pitch perfect dialogue all make Crossing California certain to evoke memories and longing in its readers as well as laughter and anxiety. Whether viewed as an American Graffiti for the seventies, The Jewish Corrections, a Chicagoan Manhattan, or early Philip Roth for a later generation, Crossing California is an unforgettable, and thoroughly enjoyable, contribution to contemporary fiction.

The Washington Story

More than a year and a half has passed since Jill Wasserstrom tried to catch up to Muley Wills in West Rogers Park. Now, they are high school students in love, but will their relationship survive as their world expands beyond the boundaries of West Rogers Park? Over the course of five years from 1982 to 1987 Jill, Muley, and their families and friends will experience love, betrayal, re unions, sex, death, and rebirth. They will live through years of triumph and despair the deaths of Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, and Konstantin Chernenko and the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev; the death of the Chicago political machine and the rise and fall of Harold Washington; the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and the arrival of Halley’s Comet. They will travel from Chicago to Cape Canaveral, Florida, to New York, Europe, and beyond. And once again, Jill and Muley will find themselves on a street corner in a very different Chicago from the one they first knew.

Ellington Boulevard

Clarinetist Ike Morphy, his dog Herbie Mann, and a pair of pigeons who roost on his air conditioner are about to be evicted from their apartment on West 106th Street, also known as Duke Ellington Boulevard. Ike has never had a lease, just a handshake agreement with the recently deceased landlord; and now that landlord’s son stands to make a killing on apartment 2B.

Centering on the fate of one apartment before, during, and after the height of New York s real estate boom, Ellington Boulevard s characters include the Tenant and His Dog; the Landlord, a recovered alcoholic and womanizer who has newly found Judaism and a wife half his age; the Broker, an out of work actor whose new profession finally allows him to afford theater tickets he has no time to use; the Broker s New Boyfriend, a second rate actor who composes a musical about the sale of 2B Is there no one I can lien on if this boom goes bust? . There s also the Buyer, a trusting young editor at a dying cultural magazine, who falls in love with the Tenant; the Buyer s Husband, a disaffected graduate student taken to writing bawdy faux academic papers; and the Buyer s Husband s Girlfriend, a children s book writer with a tragic past.

With the humor and poignancy that made Langer s first novel, Crossing California, a favorite book of the year among critics across the country, Ellington Boulevard is an ode to New York. It s the story of why people come to a city they can t afford, take jobs they despise, sacrifice love, find love, and eventually become the people they never thought they d be for better and for worse.

My Father’s Bonus March

To his friends, Seymour Langer was one of the brightest kids to emerge from Chicago’s Depression era Jewish West Side. To his family, he was a driven and dedicated physician, a devoted father and husband. But to his Adam, youngest son, Seymour was also an enigma: a somewhat distant figure to whom Adam could never quite measure up, a worldly man who never left the city of Chicago during the last third of his life, a would be author who spoke for years of writing a history of the Bonus March of 1932, when twenty thousand World War I veterans descended on the nation s capital to demand compensation.

Using this dramatic but overlooked event in U.S. history as a means of understanding his relationship with his father, Adam Langer sets out to uncover why the Bonus March intrigued Seymour Langer, whose personal history seemed to be artfully obscured by a mix of evasiveness and exaggeration. The author interweaves the story of the Bonus March and interviews with such individuals as history aficionado Senator John Kerry and the writer and critic Norman Podhoretz with his own reminiscences and those of his father s relatives, colleagues, and contemporaries. In the process, he explores the nature of memory while creating a moving, multilayered portrait of both his father and his father s generation.

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