From the acclaimed author of The Dog Walker comes Late Night Talking, a tender and funny novel about bad behavior, the fragility of friendship and family, and how we cannot choose whom we love.
Jeannie Sterling, host of a late-night NYC talk show, vents with her listeners about everyday injustices, from rude cell phone users and poor gym etiquette to bad drivers and negligent pet owners -- the many aggravations of modern urban life. An idealistic California girl raised by two free-spirited parents, Jeannie believes in a life of value through activism. She's passionate about making a difference, about making the world a better place, one annoying person at a time.
For as long as she can remember, success in her career has been more than enough. But after all these years of being single, Jeannie realizes that some of the pieces of her perfect puzzle aren't fitting quite right. The people she thought she knew best all harbor secrets, secrets Jeannie isn't prepared for, secrets that can't be digested, processed, and solved in the neat three-hour window of her show. Her best friend, Luce, is growing distant and distracted; her wayward father unexpectedly moves in; and an ambiguous relationship with her college crush ignites.
When the radio station is bought by the maverick mogul Nicholas Moss, Jeannie's career, her one safe haven, also descends into chaos. She is pushed to increase ratings and goes too far, risking the loss of everything and everyone important to her.
Delightfully real and deliciously flawed, Jeannie Sterling is a character we can't help but root for as she faces her life's most hilarious -- and heartbreaking -- challenges.
A feisty New York radio personality is at the center of Schnur's (The Dog Walker) accomplished second novel. Jeannie Sterling's late-night show with best friend Luce chronicles the daily indignities of urban life. After a spat with a Hummer driver, Jeannie rants about him on-air, unaware that he is Nicholas Moss, a high-profile entrepreneur and one of her listeners. Meanwhile, after an unexpected romantic evening with her college crush and a visit with her estranged father, Jeannie finds her personal life in a tailspin, with even Luce keeping secrets. But soon Moss is back in her life, this time as the station's new owner. Jeannie realizes Moss is more complex than she assumed, and an attraction arises. He creates a television show for Jeannie, causing a rift with Luce, which grows deeper when Luce's secret is revealed. Things come to a head when Jeannie pulls a somewhat unbelievable on-air stunt that has nearly catastrophic results. Jeannie's dilemmas as an imperfect everywoman will resonate with a wide range of readers, while Schnur's meditations on women's friendships make her sophomore effort a humorous but not trivial read.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 14, 2007
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Excerpt from Late Night Talking by Leslie Schnur
There is something about Tribeca at five A.M. that is preternaturally romantic, Jeannie thought as she made a left onto Warren from Broadway, the ca-thunk of her Frye boots on the broken sidewalk echoing in the ethereal quiet, her fringed suede jacket protecting her against the cool morning air. An ellipse of lavender light sat like a halo over the city, the heavens above it cobalt blue. The streets were almost empty, hushed, except for a lone taxi and a van double-parked up the block. In less than an hour the morning rush would descend, but until then, this city of millions was at peace, dreamy and mysterious. And it was all hers. The cobblestone streets, the narrow alleys, the tree-lined squares, and the red brick buildings made her imagine ardent young lovers in their beds, made her aware of her own heart, full of possibility and desire.
She took this walk, rain or shine, five days a week, through the streets she loved. Only blocks from Ground Zero, this part of town was complex: historically rich, seedy, and chic, with ninety-nine-cent stores, designer furnishings, and trendy restaurants sharing a sidewalk. Its tragic, horrific past united the community, making it feel like a village, separate and apart from the rest of the city.
By the time Jeannie reached the corner of Hudson and Franklin, the preworkday hubbub was under way. She waved to Bill, who was unlocking the hefty padlock on the security gate at Ideal Dry Cleaners; to Tranh, who was sweeping the doorway at Jin Market; to her buddy Jonas at the counter of Socrates Coffee Shop. She bid a "Good morning!" to Esther, the tranny who religiously walked her two miniature white poodles, Marilyn and Marlene, up and down North Moore every morning at the same hour. She gave a buck to Stuart, the homeless guy who lived in the alley off Beach. These were the things she did every morning, the things that made this huge city feel like a quaint small town to her.
After her show, the long walk felt necessary, restorative. Tonight was a case in point. All those callers, all those complaints about all those idiots who behaved as if they never had a mother to teach them anything. And she certainly knew, as well as anybody, the effect of having a mother and then not having a mother. You have someone monitoring your deeds and then you don't, and you're on your own.
But something was going on in this beloved town of hers. Even with the crime rate down, rudeness was at an all-time high. Tonight she'd heard just a few examples: the woman getting a manicure who asked a young woman to lower the volume on her iPod -- and then she was unjustly asked to leave the salon; the man who wouldn't give a pregnant lady his seat on the bus because it was her choice to get pregnant, and not his responsibility; the woman at the gym on the elliptical who'd cover her timer with a towel and repeatedly set it to zero, hoping nobody noticed that she'd far exceeded her thirty-minute limit; the guy talking on his cell phone while at the urinal in the office bathroom.
It was as if, like in those cartoons she saw as a kid, every person had a little angel whispering in one ear and a mini devil in the other, vying for control: be good, be bad, do right, do wrong, be considerate, be selfish, throw the wrapper in the garbage, just throw it in the street.
Someday, somehow, she swore to herself, she was going to devise a method to help the people with louder devils. Somewhere, someplace, her faith in the potential goodness of people, even when they're caught with their dick in one hand and their cell phone in the other, would be transforming.
A girl can dream, Jeannie thought as she entered her apartment building.
"Morning, Tony." She smiled at her night doorman, who had rushed from his perch at the desk to open the door. He had been sorting newspapers, getting ready to pass the baton to the morning guy.