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Citizen Sidel

1 rating: -1.0
A book by Jerome Charyn

In contrast to the bleak and poignant atmosphere of his most recent Isaac Sidel book, 1997's El Bronx, Charyn offers knockabout farce in this latest adventure of the gun-toting New York mayor. It may take readers a few pages to get into the surprising … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Jerome Charyn
Publisher: Mysterious Press
1 review about Citizen Sidel


  • Sep 3, 2000
What are we to make of a New York City mayor who packs a Glock, wrestles corrupt cops and crooked politicians at the same time he is running as second banana in a presidential campaign? You get Issac Sidel, a.k.a. the Big Guy, a.k.a. the Citizen, and the funhouse world created by Jerome Charyn, once of the Bronx, now of Paris.

"Citizen Sidel" is a small book -- less than 220 pages -- but Sidel's a loose cannon who runs everywhere except off the page. He barely keeps ahead of the other characters, who are equally bizarre: the 12-year-old daughter of his running mate, the love of his life who's in bed with the president, and the son of a police officer, once thought dead, who resurrects himself as the protector of an inner-city neighborhood, accompanied by a large rat named Raskolnikov. Sidel himself is a thoroughbred on amphetimines, barely keeping ahead of those who want to see his campaign derailed. He moves in a shadow world of plots and counter-plots that may or may not have a tenuous link in reality.

A lot of "Citizen Sidel" has that feeling of unrealism. Watch Sidel lose a fistfight against a political operative, then give his acceptance speech on national television, see him fly over the streets of New York, looking for a 12-year-old tagger, see him campaign in America's heartland, one voter at a time, without anyone from the media nearby. He tries to rescue a World War II Romanian dictator from an asylum and his running mate's daughter from kidnappers and accuses nearly everybody of secretly working for someone else.

In the end, "Citizen Sidel" reads like an art house movie that seems profound until you walk out of the theater and try to make sense of it.

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