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A dazzling, dizzying debut a high-speed American tragicomedy from an astonishing new talent.

About the Author

A former owner of a variety of jewellery operations in Texas, Clancy Martin is presently an Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. He has translated Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, has written several books for Oxford University Press, and has published many essays, reviews, and short stories.


A Canadian in 1987 goes to Texas and gets crushingly corrupted in Martin's sexy, funny and devastating debut. Bobby Clark is 16 when he leaves a dead-end setup with his single mother and grass-is-greener girlfriend, Wendy, and heads to Fort Worth to get into the fine jewelry business under the stewardship of his salesman brother, Jim. In no time, Bobby and Jim are snorting lines, Bobby's moving in on (and smoking crank with) Jim's mistress, Lisa, and getting a crash course in amazingly crooked business. Scams, bait-and-switch deals, bogus jewelry and startling treachery are day-to-day at the jewelry store, until the store's gregarious owner gets into trouble at the same time Bobby tries to save Lisa from a massive flame-out. Years later, Bobby's back in Fort Worth, married to Wendy (and with a child) and still in the jewelry business with Jim when Lisa reappears, engaged in an equally questionable if older profession. Bobby's helplessly honest narration is a sublime counterpoint to the crooked doings he's complicit in. Reading this is like watching one man's American dream turn into a soul-sucking nightmare. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Sixteen-year-old Bobby Clark's life spins out of control when he is expelled from school for stealing. Invited to join his older brother Jim in Texas and work in a high-end jewelry store, Bobby quickly learns to do drugs, have sex with Jim's girlfriend, and, above all, sell diamonds and Rolex watches in the sleaziest manner imaginable. Drawn from Martin's 2008 Pushcart Prize-winning story, "The Best Jeweler," this is a fast-moving (and semiautobiographical) examination of the American dream gone awry. Businessmen swindle their customers, employees steal from their bosses, husbands cheat on their wives, and everything, whether cocaine, diamonds, or love, is for sale. Bobby is a difficult narrator to love, and the brutality of people he encounters is universal. No genuinely good people exist, only victims and victimizers. Martin is an associate professor of philosophy who teaches business ethics; his first novel will appeal to readers who enjoy gritty exposes of the underbelly of middle-class life.-Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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