I Am Death
Exploring the paranoia and bravura of the modern American male, these powerful novellas depict a realm marked by faltering blunders, misguided intentions, and the fear of failure. At once comical and terrifying, “I Am Death, or Bartleby the Mobster” charts the slumped career of a muckraking journalist, Jack, who has managed to attract the attention of Frank Fini, one of Chicago’s great mob bosses. Fini wants to hire Jack to ghostwrite his autobiography, A Boy’s First Book of Mobsters, and so begins a journey through hell as Jack attempts to restore his career, revive his ex-wife’s interest in him, and stay one step ahead of Fini and the mob.
“Peasants,” alternately satirical and tender, takes as its setting the modern corporate office, in this case a publisher of guides for users of geographic information systems. Walter Rasmussen has developed a few successful books and his future looks bright. But as a special project begins to falter and he finds his position in jeopardy, he begins to suspect his colleagues of sabotaging his career.
As he did with Visigoth, Gary Amdahl demonstrates that he is our most adept and honest guide into the psyche of the modern American male.
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Praise and Prizes
“Absolutely brilliant . . . Gary Amdahl focuses much of his energy on the foibles, foolish dreams and somehow lovable illusions of the male of the human species. It’s a tough-but-tender world, in which the most reprehensible of characters yet emerge, many of them, as sympathetic in ways you could not have imagined.”
“A sophisticated form of hyper-reality bordering on the absurd . . . Gary Amdahl makes wicked fun of (and unearths surprising meaning in) the irreconcilable differences between commerce and art, politics and integrity, capitalism and the common good.”
“Gary Amdahl’s sharply observed office politics are wincingly accurate. . . . By subtitling the title work ‘Bartleby the Mobster,’ Amdahl points the reader toward one of literature’s great refusniks, the scrivener who told his boss, ‘I would prefer not to.’ Amdahl’s novellas aspire to Melville’s noble statement and declare, in the end, that saying no is a manly thing to do.”
“Lyric and darkly comic . . . Gary Amdahl daringly and distinctively explores the tragicomedy of death, not merely of the body but also of the soul and spirit.”
“At once crude, funny and insightful on the lengths to which a desperate (or bored) man will go for fulfillment.”