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A Place in the Dark/ The Glamour of Evil

A Place in the Dark/ The Glamour of Evil

By Frank Lentricchia

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.


Guernica World Editions (World Prose)


310 pages |

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Frank Lentricchia is the Dashiell Hammett of our times and the literary equivalent of Martin Scorsese. His writing is full of “hard-boiled” grace, with every striking sentence imparting a T.S. (Tough Shit) epiphany.

. Pellegrino D'Acierno, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Hofstra University; Society of Senior Scholars, Columbia University

History is always personal in Frank Lentricchia’s work and these two remarkable novels engage the persistent echoes of Vietnam and Iraq, as well as the fallout from a legendary Mafia hit. They’re propulsive reads, brimming with vivid characters, startling humor, inventive storytelling, and moving scenes of family and struggling communities. Urgent and relevant, they offer an ideal entry into the literary world of one of America’s most compelling writers.

Jeff Jackson, author of Destroy All Monsters

In The Glamour of Evil, Frank Lentricchia explores the visceral connections between art and violence: the classic desire to create and the urge to destroy. It’s a dark compelling vision that takes the underworld of the Italian Mafia as a highly imperfect moral proving ground. The book is funny too, but as in Scorsese’s films the humor weaves into the pain and struggle surrounding it. The lure of evil, this novel suggests, lies in the way it resonates within us, and answers an original sin that makes us long for a world in which, like a god, we can act without consequence. There is no such world, of course, and this gripping novel makes clear that no one escapes this one untainted.

Anthony DeCurtis, Author of Lou Reed, A Life


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About the author

Frank Lentricchia was born to working-class parents in Utica, New York, in 1940. He earned his M.A. from Duke University in 1963, and his Ph.D. in 1966. His first two books were about modern poetry, and he then began to write more about literary theory, publishing his ground-breaking books in the early 1980s. Lentricchia served as the editor of two book series, one for The University of Chicago Press (The Wellek Library Lectures), and one for the University of Wisconsin Press (The Wisconsin Project on American Writing.) During these years, he began to drift from his previous work in theory. Lentricchia's first non-scholarly book, The Edge of Night, was published in 1994, and he soon followed with his much-noted essay in Lingua Franca, "Last Will and Testament of an Ex-Literary Critic," his farewell to certain types of academic criticism and theory. Though he did not completely abandon literary comment, Lentricchia from then on devoted himself to fiction. To date, he has published 12 books of fiction.