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The Biology of Luck - Jacob M. Appel

This is one of the oddest novels that I've ever read. At 207 pages, it isn't taxing on the reader's time and, on the whole, is well-written. 

'THE BIOLOGY OF LUCK' is set in New York City around the end of the 20th century and into the first few years of the 21st century. It's either a story within a story or rather, a story superimposed upon another, which is perhaps closer to the truth because they are both centered on 2 of the novel's central characters.


Larry Bloom is a guy in his 30s who works as a NYC tour guide. He's nondescript and would be seen by most people as unattractive and unremarkable because he is, and he knows that. But there is a woman he has known as a friend for 2 years with whom he has fallen in love. For her, he has written a novel -- part of which is played out across several chapters carrying within their titles the words 'The Biology of Luck - Chapter -- by Larry Bloom' --- which revolves upon her and one which Bloom sent to a major publishing company, who had sent him a letter by way of reply - a letter he has yet to open; Bloom hopes it will be 'the Ace up his sleeve' in his bid to win her heart. The woman of Bloom's dreams is Starshine Hart, a 29 year old woman noted for her beauty and for moving to the beat of a different drummer. 

Bloom's hopes for lasting happiness or everlasting despair hinges on a date he has with Starshine at an Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village. 

For any reader of this review with the slightest curiosity as to what 'THE BIOLOGY OF LUCK' is about, the following remarks from the book, I think, best sum up what it's about: "A day that began on the sleepy streets of Harlem will end in a dash to the finish. The soles of Larry's feet throb after hours of walking; his throat burns from wasted words; his clothes bear the scars of smoked eel and pickled herring. In less than twelve hours, he has saved the life of a pompous buffoon, failed to rescue a beautiful maiden, and abandoned a corpse to the mercies of the news media. An overbearing journalist has kidnapped his bouquet. ... It has been the most traumatic day Larry has ever experienced, a whirlwind of dreams extinguished and hopes renewed, but what makes this snippet of June so inconceivable is that the two greatest challenges are still to come. He may yet be an author. ... All depends on whether Starshine, glorious Starshine, will wait for him."

On the whole, 'THE BIOLOGY OF LUCK' is a decent novel. But not one to get overly excited about.