Kissing in Manhattan by David Schickler
As a resident of New York City, I liked the idea of David Schickler’s Kissing in Manhattan. This collection of short stories first started as one short story published in the New Yorker. Every short story is connected by some link to an old apartment building on Riverside Drive called the Preemption Building. By the end of the book, Schickler attempts to connect each individual story to the other in one ultimate grand finale.
It’s been done before, and while a cool concept, ultimately I don’t think Schickler achieves any true greatness with his collection. I enjoyed some of the stories; some I had to push through; some I didn’t find believable at all. I get that as the reader, we’re supposed to believe that anyone can have some hidden quirk and that you never really know anyone’s true story just by seeing them walk past on the street. With that being said, I still found some of the stories just plain odd and a struggle to finish.
One thing that I found particularly interesting in this collection was that throughout the course of the book, each short story is told in the third person narrative until you get to Patrick Rigg. His story, “Duty,” is told in the first person. It was an effective way for the Schickler to draw attention to the fact that this particular story is important. And it is important. Some of the other stories don’t really end up being much important at all to the conclusion of the book which lends to the fact that the ultimate finale is weak in my personal opinion.
What I like the most about Schickler’s Kissing in Manhattan is just the idea that it’s a small world. Manhattan is a city of a little over 1.5 million people (thank you Google), and yet I’ve bumped into people that I went to high school with (in South Jersey) coming off the subway here in New York.
Is Kissing in Manhattan bad? No. Is it amazing? No. I enjoyed it for the most part, however it’s nothing I’ll remember for having a huge effect on me. I will say, however, If you’re intrigued at all by the idea of the book, it’s worth checking out for yourself.