A Day in Greenpoint, and Shoplifting From American Apparel: A Review

imageI am in Greenpoint, off Greenpoint Avenue, waiting to meet my girlfriend at Paulie Gee’s for dinner. Moonchild is meeting us too, and then we’ll go to that bar that has two for one drinks on Tuesdays, Matchless. Moonchild is moving out of New York because she wants to live with her boyfriend and she’s unemployed and can’t get a guarantor.

I went to Cafe Grumpy, and I kept thinking Lena Dunham was going to walk in. I saw a guy in a black down coat with the word Girls on the back of the collar and decided that was consolation enough. I didn’t want to get another coffee but I had been at Cafe Grumpy too long. There was a girl sitting across from me reading Tom Jones. I wanted to say, I read that. But I didn’t. I chose not to get a coffee because I am afraid of becoming a caffeine addict. So I went to Word, then I skated down Greenpoint Ave. to some bar at the end of the street.

There were two fat guys sitting at the bar with an open-faced hamburger and all of the food on the menu cost eight dollars. I asked the bartender if there was a happy hour and she said, “Hey hun, what can I do for you?” “Do you have happy hour?” “Happy hour startth at theven. We have fish tacoth for a dollar and a dollar off all drafth.” “But no happy hour now?” “No, thorry.”

So I left and skated up the street to a beer store with a fire-burning stove. The guy who works here asked me about my iPad keyboard, and then a dude with a papoose strapped to him walked in with his wife. She’s wearing clogs and eating candy from a jar next to the cash register. They can’t be more than thirty-two, a good child-bearing age.

Shoplifting From American Apparel, I enjoyed. But it was because of the style, not the content. I didn’t enjoy the content at all. It is about a writer who is full of himself and cycles through different women in a vain search for meaning, which ultimately is supposed to be life-affirming. The only parts of the plot I enjoyed were when he was arrested for doing as the title suggests.

But the bare bones style, parable-like, that I liked. The symbolism of a cell phone low on battery. This novella offers a new set of signs for our technological world. The only problem is that they’re still so new, they can be confusing. Like, a castle is an easier symbol to interpret than a Macbook. And that is why the novel often feels so devoid of meaning.

Published by Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel was born in Brooklyn, NY, and has lived in Portland, Oregon. He studied literature and philosophy at NYU and creative writing at Edinburgh University. He is finishing an MFA in Fiction at University of South Carolina.

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