- Author: David Handler
Book online «The Man Who Wasn't All There David Handler (digital book reader .txt) 📖». Author David Handler
Also by David Handler
Also by David Handler
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THE MAN WHO DIED LAUGHING
THE MAN WHO LIVED BY NIGHT
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
THE WOMAN WHO FELL FROM GRACE
THE BOY WHO NEVER GREW UP
THE MAN WHO CANCELLED HIMSELF
THE GIRL WHO RAN OFF WITH DADDY
THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN TO DEATH
THE GIRL WITH KALEIDOSCOPE EYES
THE MAN WHO COULDN’T MISS
THE MAN IN THE WHITE LINEN SUIT
The Berger and Mitry mysteries
THE COLD BLUE BLOOD
THE HOT PINK FARMHOUSE
THE BRIGHT SILVER STAR
THE BURNT ORANGE SUNRISE
THE SWEET GOLDEN PARACHUTE
THE SOUR CHERRY SURPRISE
THE SHIMMERING BLOND SISTER
BLOOD RED INDIAN SUMMER
THE SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE
THE COAL BLACK ASPHALT TOMB
THE LAVENDER LANE LOTHARIO
The Benji Golden mysteries
Featuring Hunt Liebling
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Featuring Danny Levine
THE MAN WHO WASN’T ALL THERE
This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
First world edition published in Great Britain and the USA in 2021
by Severn House, an imprint of Canongate Books Ltd,
14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TE.
Trade paperback edition first published in Great Britain and the USA in 2022
by Severn House, an imprint of Canongate Books Ltd.
This eBook edition first published in 2021 by Severn House,
an imprint of Canongate Books Ltd.
Copyright © David Handler, 2021
All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. The right of David Handler to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.
ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-9248-5 (cased)
ISBN-13: 978-1-78029-769-9 (trade paper)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4483-0507-0 (e-book)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is purely coincidental.
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This one’s for Diana, who was forced to home shelter with me 24/7 for way too many months yet never lost her gentle, serene nature.
I was me again.
For six glorious weeks I’d been living my dream, the one that I’d been clinging to for more than a decade – ever since the New York Times Sunday Book Review proclaimed me ‘the first major new literary voice of the 1980s.’ Ever since Joe Papp’s loveliest and most gifted discovery, Merilee Nash, and I were anointed as the Big Apple’s It Couple. Ever since I got writer’s block, snorted my career up my nose and Merilee drop-kicked Lulu and me back to my crappy fifth-floor walk-up on West 93rd Street, where I was relegated to scratching out a non-distinguished living as a ghostwriter of celebrity memoirs.
But now? Now I had my voice back. Not to mention residential privileges in the place I’d once called home. Every morning I was awake before dawn in that king-sized bed in Merilee’s opulent sixteenth-floor apartment on Central Park West, my head exploding with ideas. I was there but I wasn’t there. My body was living in the autumn of 1993. My heart and soul were living in the summer of 1975 – ‘My Sweet Season of Madness,’ as I was calling my new novel. I was back in my New York, the grimy, graffiti-strewn, rodent and drug-infested Ford to City: Drop Dead New York. The New York of CBGBs, the Mudd Club, Max’s and those after-hours dance clubs in Spanish Harlem that the Walt Whitman Award-winning poet Regina Aintree, my first great love, and I would go roaring up to at four a.m. on my big, bad black Norton. The New York of the Chelsea Hotel, where we were making crazy monkey love in Reggie’s third-floor room the night Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols stuck that knife into Nancy Spungen’s stomach in Room 100. Allegedly. He OD’d before he came to trial.
I was so into what I was writing that while Merilee’s espresso machine did its thing I’d skip my morning shave and put on a white T-shirt, torn jeans, Chippewa boots and my 1933 Werber leather flight jacket just like I used to. An author is a method actor who works alone on paper. And I was totally in character. The one I’d been in ’75, who shaved twice a week and chain-smoked unfiltered Chesterfields. I’d bought a carton of them and allowed myself one smoke a day after dinner. I’d even had Grandfather’s old Ronson Varaflame lighter resuscitated at a cigar shop on Madison. All it had needed was a new flint spring assembly, the stooped, ancient repairman said.
While I drank my espresso I’d devour a toasted baguette with blackberry jam from Merilee’s farm while I put down Lulu’s breakfast of 9Lives mackerel for cats. She has rather unusual eating habits for a basset hound and, trust me, the breath to prove it. Then I’d head straight for my solid steel 1958 Olympia portable, which was parked on the genuine signed Stickley library table set before the windows overlooking Central Park in the office that Merilee had custom furnished for me, complete with a leather Morris chair and an Edward Hopper landscape painting of the craggy Maine coastline. Not a print. The actual painting. I’d crank up Rockaway Beach by the Ramones, which I listened to every morning – on vinyl, the way it