From the author of Henry and Clara, a dazzling, hilarious novel that captures the heart and soul of New York in the Jazz Age.
Bandbox is a hugely successful magazine, a glamorous monthly cocktail of 1920s obsessions from the stock market to radio to gangland murder. Edited by the bombastic Jehoshaphat “Joe” Harris, the magazine has a masthead that includes, among many others, a grisly, alliterative crime writer; a shy but murderously determined copyboy; and a burned-out vaudeville correspondent who’s lovesick for his loyal, dewy assistant.
As the novel opens, the defection of Harris’s most ambitious protégé has plunged Bandbox into a death struggle with a new competitor on the newsstand. But there’s more to come: a sabotaged fiction contest, the NYPD vice squad, a subscriber’s kidnapping, and a film-actress cover subject who makes the heroines of Fosse’s Chicago look like the girls next door. While Harris and his magazine careen from comic crisis to make-or-break calamity, the novel races from skyscraper to speakeasy, hops a luxury train to Hollywood, and crashes a buttoned-down dinner with Calvin Coolidge.
Thomas Mallon has given us a madcap and poi-gnant book that brilliantly portrays the gaudiest American decade of them all.