The Sea Beach Line

Ben Nadler (Author)


Set in post-Giuliani New York City, The Sea Beach Line melds mid-20th- century pulp fiction and traditional Jewish folklore as it updates the classic story of a young man trying to find his place in the world.

After being expelled from Oberlin for hallucinogenic drug use, Izzy Edel seeks out his estranged father--a Polish Jew turned Israeli soldier turned New York street vendor named Alojzy who is reported to be missing, possibly dead. To learn about Alojzy's life and discover the truth behind his disappearance, Izzy takes over his father's outdoor bookselling business and meets the hustlers, gangsters, and members of a religious sect who peopled his father's world. He also falls in love.

As Izzy soon discovers, appearances can deceive; no one, not even his own father, is quite whom he seems to be. Vowing to prove himself equal to Alojzy's legacy of fearlessness, Izzy plunges forward on a criminal enterprise that will bring him answers--at great personal cost.

Fans of Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn, Nathan Englander's For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, and Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union will relish to Ben Nadler's combined mystery, love story, and homage to text and custom.

Product Details

$15.95  $14.67
Fig Tree Books LLC
Publish Date
October 13, 2015
5.8 X 1.2 X 8.9 inches | 1.15 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Ben Nadler is the author of the novel Harvitz, As to War (Iron Diesel Press) and several chapbooks, including Punk in NYC's Lower East Side, 1981-1991 (Microcosm Publishing) and The Men Who Work Under the Ground (Keep This Bag Away From Children Press). A poetry and comic collaboration chapbook is forthcoming with the visual artist Alyssa Berg. Nadler earned a BA from Eugene Lang College of the New School and an MFA from the City College of New York/CUNY. He has taught at City College, Eugene Lang College, and The College of New Rochelle-School of New Resources in the South Bronx. A former Manhattan street vendor, he has also worked in bookstores across New York, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area. He lives in Brooklyn.


Praise for The Sea Beach Line

"Nadler has crafted a New York hustler coming-of-age tale in which his protagonist's life mirrors that of a yeshiva student, then the hero of a pulp novel about the Mafia, and finally the biblical patriarch Isaac. The interweaving of Izzy's search with Hasidic tales and the realities of life on the streets results in a mesmerizing narrative that will speak to any readers who have tried to make sense of their parents' lives or the secrets that people keep." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"The confluence of a byzantine plot, intriguing references to Jewish folktales and the Talmud, and an epic storm results in an updated noir providing a glimpse of the Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan hidden from tourists and hipsters alike." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Nadler has the courage to explore worlds--both spiritual and gritty--that are not usually the stuff of mainstream fiction, especially not combined. Mystical and folk stories are sprinkled throughout, including a retelling of the book of Esther. Best of all are the sympathetic, Steinbeck-like portraits of the lives of street people whom most of us ignore." -- New York Journal of Books

"The Sea Beach Line explores themes of self-reliance, solitude, loyalty, and the stories people weave to diffuse pain. With its colorful immersion into the mind of an unstable narrator, the work speaks to the powerful tide of memory." -- Foreword Reviews

"New York City pulsates with the accidental lives of seers and thugs, mystics and con artists, false prophets, lovers, and sidewalk heroes in The Sea Beach Line, a one-way ticket into the subterranean life of the city and what lies beyond it." -- Salar Abdoh, author of Tehran at Twilight and editor of Tehran Noir

"With echoes of Paul Auster's Leviathan, Ben Nadler's The Sea Beach Line is a hypnotic mosaic of stories within stories whose layers piece together a fascinating mystery of a young man's search for his father. Isaac's story is as philosophical as the oldest question: Who am I, and why am I here? In Nadler's hands, this question rings ever more essential." -- Brendan Kiely, author of The Gospel of Winter

"The Sea Beach Line is a thriller, and a very good one. Beyond that, it's a thriller informed by the lore of Jewish mysticism, with its sacred texts and burning words and true and false messiahs, and by themes of paternity and patrimony: what it is our fathers leave us, even the fathers we never knew. It gripped me by the throat and wouldn't let go." -- Peter Trachtenberg, author of Another Insane Devotion

Foreword Reviews' 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards Bronze winner.

Included on Book Riot's list of "100 Must-Read Works of Jewish Fiction."

Praise for Harvitz, As to War

"[F]rom a Vietnam vet's weed farm in California to a gated community in Florida, from Coney Island to Williamsburg - As To War enticingly intimates Nadler's great fund of erudition, shrewdness, and brutality." - You're Beautiful, New York