Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pg. 69: "Anonymous Lawyer"

Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer, his first novel.

I asked Jeremy to put the novel to the "page 69 test." Here is his reply, which opens with a passage from page 69:
"Plus, now she knows I own a pair of tennis shoes, and that's very sticky because it's not good for them to see us as normal people and the more we come down to their level the more difficult it is to maintain the hierarchy and treat them the way secretaries need to be treated. It's very complicated. I should have just pretended I didn't see her and that it wasn't really me. A lot of people look like me. Not the fat people...."

That's Anonymous Lawyer, on page 69, just having run into his secretary and her family at a Dodgers game -- in the upper deck. And having to explain to her that he wouldn't normally be sitting in the upper deck, but it was a last-minute thing and the firm's seats were being used, and... now she thinks he sits in the upper deck. And now she knows his daughter is twenty pounds overweight. And now he knows what her kids look like, and that's going to make it more difficult when he has to take away her health insurance.

Anonymous Lawyer is a novel about a partner at a top-notch corporate law firm, from the outside living the perfect life, but on the inside a frustrated soul. He's fighting for the chairman's job (up against colleagues like The Jerk, The Tax Guy, and The Woman Who Missed Her Kid's Funeral) but in reality he's feeling trapped in a life he's not sure he ever wanted to lead, and taking it out on the people around him... and all the while writing a secret weblog to vent his frustrations... which becomes less and less of a secret as the people he's writing about start to discover it.
Many thanks to Jeremy for the input.

As well as page 69, check out (one version) of this Readers' Guide.

And read an excerpt from the novel.

Among the considerable praise for Anonymous Lawyer:
"After you buckle the seatbelt of suspended disbelief, you can sit back and enjoy the ride. Anonymous Lawyer is a quick, fun read...."
--New York Observer

"It's to Blachman's credit that he's able to thread a credible plot through his damaged narrator's high-spirited but treacherous confessions. It's a deeply skewed worldview that blends the pressures of The Paper Chase and the absurdities of The Office, mixed with an unhealthy dose of obsessive ambition and a smart sense of satire. Laugh 'til it hurts."
--Rocky Mountain News

"Jeremy Blachman is a very funny writer."
--Wall Street Journal

"[W]ickedly amusing."
--USA Today

"Stocked with up-to-the-minute references, and exposing, as it does, our culture's mania to win at all costs, 'Anonymous Lawyer' has pierced the heart of a moment in our social history."
--New York Post
Read "Anonymous Lawyer: From Blog To Book" and visit Anonymous Lawyer.

Where else would the Anonymous Lawyer work but at the Anonymous Law Firm LLP?

Previous "page 69 tests:"
Andrew Pyper, The Wildfire Season
Wendy Werris, An Alphabetical Life
Laura Lippman, What the Dead Know
Meghan Daum, The Quality of Life Report
Scott Reynolds Nelson, Steel Drivin' Man
Richard Aleas, Little Girl Lost
Paul Collins, The Trouble With Tom
John McFetridge, Dirty Sweet
Michael Kazin, A Godly Hero
Bill Crider, Murder Among the OWLS
Zachary Shore, Breeding Bin Ladens
Rolf Potts, Vagabonding
Matt Haig, The Dead Fathers Club
Lawrence Light, Fear & Greed
Simon Read, In The Dark
Sandra Ruttan, Suspicious Circumstances
Henry Ansgar Kelly, Satan: A Biography
Alison Gaylin, You Kill Me
Gayle Lynds, The Last Spymaster
Jim Lehrer, The Phony Marine
Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.
Debra Ginsberg, Blind Submission
Sarah Katherine Lewis, Indecent
Peter Orner, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo
William Easterly, The White Man's Burden
Danielle Trussoni, Falling Through the Earth
Andrew Blechman, Pigeons
Anne Perry, A Christmas Secret
Elaine Showalter, Faculty Towers
Kat Richardson, Greywalker
Michael Bess, Choices Under Fire
Masha Hamilton, The Camel Bookmobile
Alex Beam, Gracefully Insane
Nicholas Lemann, Redemption
Jason Sokol, There Goes My Everything
Wendy Steiner, Venus in Exile
Josh Chafetz, Democracy’s Privileged Few
Anne Frasier, Pale Immortal
Michael Lewis, The Blind Side
David A. Bell, The First Total War
Brett Ellen Block, The Lightning Rule
Rosanna Hertz, Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice
Jason Starr, Lights Out
Robert Vitalis, America's Kingdom
Stephen Elliott, My Girlfriend Comes To The City And Beats Me Up
Colin McGinn, The Power of Movies
Sean Chercover, Big City, Bad Blood
Sigrid Nunez, The Last of Her Kind
Stanley Fish, How Milton Works
James Longenbach, The Resistance to Poetry
Margaret Lowrie Robertson, Season of Betrayal
Sy Montgomery, The Good Good Pig
Allison Burnett, The House Beautiful
Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History
Ed Lynskey, The Dirt-Brown Derby
Cindy Dyson, And She Was
Simon Blackburn, Truth
Brian Freeman, Stripped
Alyson M. Cole, The Cult of True Victimhood
Jeff Biggers, In the Sierra Madre
Jeff Broadwater, George Mason, Forgotten Founder
Alicia Steimberg, Andrea Labinger (trans.), The Rainforest
Michael Grunwald, The Swamp
Darrin McMahon, Happiness: A History
Leo Braudy, From Chivalry to Terrorism
David Nasaw, Andrew Carnegie
Leah Hager Cohen, Train Go Sorry
Chris Grabenstein, Slay Ride
David Helvarg, Blue Frontier
Marina Warner, Phantasmagoria
Bill Crider, A Mammoth Murder
Robert W. Bennett, Taming the Electoral College
Nicholas Stern et al, Stern Review Report
Kerry Emanuel, Divine Wind
Adam Langer, The Washington Story
Michael Scott Moore, Too Much of Nothing
Frank Schaeffer, Baby Jack
Wyn Cooper, Postcards from the Interior
Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov
Maureen Ogle, Ambitious Brew
Cass Sunstein, Infotopia
Paul W. Kahn, Out of Eden
Paul Lewis, Cracking Up
Pagan Kennedy, Confessions of a Memory Eater
David Greenberg, Nixon's Shadow
Duane Swierczynski, The Wheelman
George Levine, Darwin Loves You
John Barlow, Intoxicated
Alicia Steimberg, The Rainforest
Alan Wolfe, Does American Democracy Still Work?
John Dickerson, On Her Trail
Marcus Sakey, The Blade Itself
Randy Boyagoda, Governor of the Northern Province
John Gittings, The Changing Face of China
Rachel Kadish, Tolstoy Lied
Eric Rauchway, Blessed Among Nations
Tim Brookes, Guitar and other books
Ruth Padel, Tigers in Red Weather
William Haywood Henderson, Augusta Locke
Jed Horne, Breach of Faith
Robert Greer, The Fourth Perspective
David Plotz, The Genius Factory
Michael Allen Dymmoch, White Tiger
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Civilizing the Enemy
Tom Lutz, Doing Nothing
Libby Fischer Hellmann, A Shot To Die For
Nelson Algren, The Man With the Golden Arm
Bob Harris, Prisoner of Trebekistan
Elaine Flinn, Deadly Collection
Louise Welsh, The Bullet Trick
Gregg Hurwitz, Last Shot
Martha Powers, Death Angel
N.M. Kelby, Whale Season
Mario Acevedo, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
Simon Blackburn, Lust
Linda L. Richards, Calculated Loss
Kevin Guilfoile, Cast of Shadows
Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
Shari Caudron, Who Are You People?
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics
John Sutherland, How to Read a Novel
Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed
Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

--Marshal Zeringue