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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Book Review: The Day New York Went Dry

The Day New York Went DryThe Day New York Went Dry by Charles Einstein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this out of my collection of vintage paperbacks thinking it was a post-apocalyptic tale, something I've been in the mood for lately. It turned out not to be, but was entertaining nonetheless.

The book, published in 1964, follows two movers and shakers in the New York City's political and social scene who try to curb an impending water crisis. One of the characters is a boozing socialite who reminded me of Roger Sterling from Mad Men!

The main strength of this novel is its clear explanation of just how such a big city is supplied with water, and the environmental and social pressures that can threaten that supply. There are also some wonderfully funny passages. Its weaknesses are the rather cardboardy characters and the uneven pace of the plot, which at times veers off into lengthy explanations of unimportant material (like one character's theories on blackjack) that feel like padding.

Still, it's a fun and quick read and if you have a taste for mid-century curios and you can find it cheap, give it a try.

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