The Biology of Luck

General Fiction

By Jacob M. Appel

Publisher : Elephant Rock Books

The Biology of Luck

ABOUT Jacob M. Appel

Jacob M. Appel
Jacob M. Appel's first novel, The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Award in 2012.  His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize and will be published by Black Lawrence in November 2013. Jacob has published short fiction in More...



Odd-job queen Starshine Hart is about to go on somebody else’s perfect date. At 29, the usually carefree Starshine has realized that it is easier to start sleeping with a man than to stop. Her lovers include one of the last underground members of the Weathermen and the dilettante heir to a lawn chair magnate. Both men have staked their romantic future on her. Her only respite is her impending dinner with the nonthreatening but unattractive tour guide Larry Bloom. But Larry, too, has a stake in her future. He has written a book about their impending dinner in which he fantasizes about Starshine’s life on the day he wins her heart. Juxtaposing moments from Larry’s guided tour of New York City on the June day of his “dream date” with excerpts from the novel in which he imagines Starshine’s concurrent escapades, this inventive structure weaves a highly imaginative love story across all five boroughs. Provocative, funny, and keenly observed, an imagined pilgrimage through the underbelly of Gotham becomes a bold new voice in contemporary American fiction.

"Appel—a New York sightseeing guide, psychiatrist, bioethicist, and prolific, prizewinning playwright and short story writer—offers a nimbly satiric variation on Joyce’s Ulysses in this tale of one summer day in the life of Larry Bloom, a nebbishy New York City tour guide and struggling writer. A self-described “prisoner of his own inhibitions,” Larry is hopelessly in love with a beautiful, unconventional, and confused young woman, Starshine, who has agreed to have dinner with him. As in every romantic comedy, forces conspire to keep them apart, but in Appel’s clever, vigorously written, intently
observed, and richly emotional tale, hilarious mishaps are wildly complicated by the intersections between life and Larry’s novel about Starshine. From bagel-throwing demonstrators attacking a group of puzzled Dutch tourists to Starshine’s bicycle odyssey in quest of a fruit basket for her Alzheimer’s-afflicted aunt to the mysterious powers of a one-armed building superintendent, Appel’s funky urban fairy tale is spiked with canny observations about human nature. Do we inherit or create luck? Is beauty a burden or a gift? Can love transcend fantasy? Seductive and thought-provoking." Donna Seaman, Booklist