by Cally Fiedorek
University of Iowa Press, 2024
eISBN: 978-1-60938-942-0 | Paper: 978-1-60938-941-3
Library of Congress Classification PS3606.I3275A88 2024
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.6

In December 2018, we meet Rudy Coyle, a bar owner’s son from Flushing, Queens, in the throes of a major quarter-life crisis. Cut out of the family business, he gets a Hail Mary job as a night doorman in a storied Park Avenue apartment building, where he comes under the wing of the family in 4E, the Cohens.

Jacob “Jake” Cohen, the fast-talking patriarch, is one of a generation of financiers who made hundreds of millions of dollars in the cutthroat taxi medallion industry in the early 2000s, largely by preying on the hopes and dreams of impoverished immigrant drivers. As Jake tries to stop the bleed from the debt crisis now plaguing his company, clawing back his assets from an increasingly dangerous coterie of Russian American associates, Rudy gets promoted from doorman to errand boy to bodyguard to something like Jake’s right-hand man.

By turns a gripping portrait of corruption and a tender family dramedy, Atta Boy combines the urban cool of Richard Price with the glossy, uptown charm of Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Here is a novel richly attuned to its time and place, but with something for everyone—high-wire prose and a story wedding ripped from the headlines, social realism with the warmth, angst, and humor of its indelible voices.

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