The wicked pen of John D. Frankel strikes again. The long-awaited sequel to The Heretofore Un-Tolled History of the Independent Republic of Harvey Markson has finally arrived.
Readers who enjoyed Frankel’s first novel, a witty existential tour of life inside the brokerage houses and investment banks of Toronto’s Bay Street, will revel in this clever sequel with its familiar layers of tongue-in-cheek narrative, droll humor, and incisive portraits of The Street’s by now famous denizens, including one Zygmunt Adams. “Zyg,” Harvey Markson’s closest friend and confidant, takes center stage in this latest tale, and if Harvey’s quest was to find meaning and purpose in life, Zyg’s mission is to secure love, not wealth. However, though he’s a brilliant and capable businessman, Zyg is less sure of himself in matters of the heart.
Love and the Bay Street Bingo Players is a wonderfully mature novel that rings authentic and true in every line of dialogue and in the characters’ questioning self-doubts. But if this is a story about love, it is also about loss. It is about the randomness of life, about seizing opportunities when they come along, and about our all-too-human capacity to miss the boat entirely, whether we are too arrogant to set aside our egos or too afraid to repeat past mistakes.
While as shrewdly observant and as mordantly funny as the first novel, the gentle humor that pervades this latest Bay Street tale reveals the author’s evident affection for his characters. A master stroke of narrative stealth, however, will disarm even the most attentive of readers with a shocking surprise. Through this twist of fate, Love and the Bay Street Bingo Players transcends its satirical roots and soars. A novel of considerable humanity, the story of Zygmunt in love with the beautiful and elusive Antoinette will surely capture any reader’s heart.