The Sunday Macaroni Clubby Steve Lopez
"It’s a city of bottom feeders. With no bottom." Assistant District Attorney Lisa Savitch has a problem. Her boss wants her to nail the Sunday Macaroni Club-five remnants of the old political machine led by Augie Sangiamino, a former U.S. Senator with a conviction for fraud, now a political consultant. Why are these has-beens so important when there are
"It’s a city of bottom feeders. With no bottom." Assistant District Attorney Lisa Savitch has a problem. Her boss wants her to nail the Sunday Macaroni Club-five remnants of the old political machine led by Augie Sangiamino, a former U.S. Senator with a conviction for fraud, now a political consultant. Why are these has-beens so important when there are children in Philadelphia dying of leukemia in the vicinity of an oil refinery? As for Augie, it's like he says at grace on Sunday: "We thank you, Lord, for this wonderful macaroni dinner. But we could use a little help, to tell you the truth, in this campaign." His two candidates are way behind in the polls, and he needs a miracle, divine or otherwise, to reverse the trend. Miracles, of course, cost money, and that's where the Sunday Macaroni Club dives into a glorious-and usually hilarious-carnival of greed, ambition, and self-preservation. Its hoorifying politics are democracy in America, and few people understand those better than Steve Lopez or have more fun painting them large. The characters of The Sunday Macaroni Club spill off the page with a furious energy and unexpected decency-by turns appalling, alluring, and endearing, they are altogether unforgettable.
Abandoning the mawkish sentimentality of Third and Indiana (1994), his mean-streets social-realist debut, Lopez now goes for a fiercely funny epic that pits the feckless members of a creaking, contentedly sleazy old-time South Philly political machine against idealistic, terminally beautiful Assistant D.A. Lisa Savitch and her street-wise, "part-time" FBI agent sidekick, Mike Muldoon. Lopez uses a deliriously complicated plot to deliver a stinging satire. It seems that former US Senator Augie Sangiamo, who listens to Sinatra while chowing down with his cronies on pasta and "gravy" every Sunday afternoon, wants to maintain his weakening hold on his turbulent, working-class neighborhood by using illegal campaign funds drawn from Atlantic City casinos to buy elections for the grandly corrupt State Representative William "Ham" Flaherty and Common Pleas Judge Isadore "Izzy" Weiner. The ambitious D.A., who once sent Sangiamo to jail, wants Savitch, an athletic, cigarette-puffing import from Boston who can't quite manage the local patois, to "bring me the heads of these dinosaurs so we can stuff them, mount them and put them on display at the Academy of Natural Science." Savitch is more interested in investigating a release of toxic fumes from the city's oil refinery, and, meanwhile, Muldoon can't keep his eyes off Savitch's legs. Throughut, comically vile insiders square off against stiff, feckless outsiders and only the morally upright seem to suffer. As Muldoon says, "we end up with bribery, a white-collar scandal, a public health epidemic, two murders, thirty-seven felony counts. Where's our bonus?"
While it lacks the depth of Tom Wolfe's Bonfire, Lopez's scathingly sarcastic top-to-bottom exploration of urban corruption overwhelms with dead-on characterizations and lingering belly-laughs.
- Penguin Group (USA)
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.44(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.85(d)
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