The Body Politic

Atria. Mar. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781501180774. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781501180798. F
Platzer’s second novel (after Bed-Stuy Is Burning) follows a closely interconnected set of friends in New York City from 9/11’s aftermath to the 2016 election. Off-Broadway actress Tess and corporate mover David are married and seem perfect together, except Tess has an affair and they go temporarily off-track. When they are reunited, David, showing off a bit for a son, falls from a ladder and is almost entirely incapacitated. Tess becomes his caretaker, aided by Tazio, David’s best friend, a Cooper Union prodigy, who also shares a one-night history with Tess. Tangled web? Yes, and add striking Angelica, a dentist and fiancée (vaguely) to Tazio, and there’s the cast. The story settles around overcoming: past history and David’s mysterious, untreatable (conventionally, anyway) illness. Subplots involve confrontations by the two women of sexual abusers. Tazio turns from the group and enters the political world, first as a John Edwards campaign exec, then in virulently anti-Trump mode, and finally as a Trump staffer. In the end, nothing is really settled, but all the characters are getting on.
VERDICT An inherently character-driven tale, beautifully written, and a fine example of a long, strange trip. Note: pro-Trumpers would be well advised not to pick this up.

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