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A Place in the Dark / The Glamour of Evil
Guernica Editions (Guernica World Editions), Fall 2020
304 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781771835312
ISBN10: 1771835311
$20.00 Canada, $17.95 US, £11.95 UK

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This is a flip book with two novels: A Place In The Dark braids history, fiction and politics. It is set in Utica with substantial passages of painful, site-specific memories of the characters of both the Vietnam war and the American engagement in Iraq. These memories are carried by a Vietnamese immigrant woman living in Utica, who suffered in Saigon, an American Marine and Italian-American Utican who committed an atrocity during the siege of Khe Sanh, and an Iraqi who administered torture and worked as translator and interpreter in Baghdad on America's behalf. The central character is an ex-private investigator, of Utica, who is an Italian-American, beset by his long-standing guilt for his deferment from the draft during the Vietnam era and now suffering from serious heart disease. The Glamour of Evil deals with how, some males, especially literary/intellectual types, are drawn to violent men in organized crime. How they secretly desire intimacy with such people whom they find charismatic, powerful and uniquely free inside a world where the freedom of the individual is in much doubt. The novel features a legendary American Mafioso--who loved modern fiction and French existentialism--Crazy Joey Gallo and his dark world. This is combined with a whodunit involving Eliot Conte's daughter, a crisis that a connected man of literary flair promises to resolve for Conte--for an unusual price.
Many years after you left Los Angeles, a failed Ph.D. candidate, you open again the issue of Life that you purchased for 40 cents on December 5, 1969. To the article entitled “The Massacre at My Lai,” with color photos, and once again you are engrossed by the large photo (recto) facing the opening page. An artistic arrangement, so you wanted to think, but you knew then, draft-deferred Eliot Conte, as you know now, that it was not artistically arranged.

Books by Frank Lentricchia

A Place in the Dark / The Glamour of Evil Manhattan Meltdown The Morelli Thing