Moving Kings

Random. Jul. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9780399590184. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399590191. F
OrangeReviewStarDavid King, founder of a New York-based moving company the Moving Kings, is a recently divorced mogul trying to repair a broken relationship with his adult daughter while managing an affair with his long-suffering office manager. The trenchant social critique in Cohen's novel starts in the first chapter, at a swanky Hamptons Republican soirée where David is out of his element and greeted as a quaint amusement by the politicians who recognize him from his famously over-the-top ads. The book's perspective switches about a third of the way through to that of David's young Israeli cousin Yoav, and Uri, Yoav's disturbed former squad mate, who have completed their military service and come to New York to work as off-the-books movers for David's company. The Moving Kings engage in multiple borderline illegal and immoral practices, for which Yoav's and Uri's military service has well prepared them. Their fellow movers are a kaleidoscopic cross-section of New York's underclass, as are the poor souls they evict from their homes.
VERDICT Cohen (The Book of Numbers) gets to the heart of his troubled characters, sensitively portraying damaged psyches from all levels of Israeli and American society and offering incisive social commentary on both cultures. [See Prepub Alert, 2/6/17.]

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