Everyone's Burning by Ian Spiegelman
A Novel

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A young man without prospects finds his place in the universe--as a young woman's slave.

Poised somewhere between high school and adulthood, Leon Koch roams the bars and bedrooms of Bayside, Queens, twenty minutes and a thousand psychic miles from Manhattan--a multicultural landscape where the line dividing the middle class from the street gangs has been obliterated. With his two best friends just out of prison for pipe-bombing a house, Koch discovers that cocaine and alcohol have imbued him with "superpowers," twisting his mind into a plexus where love, fear, violence, and intimacy are indistinguishable. As life becomes a waking nightmare spent fighting with police, predators, and the law-abiding, unscarred citizens he dismisses as "normals," Koch drives relentlessly toward a fantasy zone. What he finds is a fetishistic realm of worship and ritual where people are never quite certain whether they're role-playing or getting played by their roles. Testing the bounds of sensation under the constant threat of violence, Koch explores a world that is a slave to its own secrets, where freedom exists only in a 911 call from the brink of self-annihilation.

Told in a hallucinatory, street-poetic voice, Everyone's Burning depicts the lives and deaths of a generation that raised itself on Star Wars, talk shows, and Charles Manson interviews. Koch is a bleary yet gimlet-eyed tour guide through one of their neighborhoods.

About Ian Spiegelman

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Ian Spiegelman was born in Brooklyn in 1974 and raised in Bayside, Queens. A graduate of Queens College and a former staff writer for New York, he is currently a reporter for the New York Post's Page Six and a contributing editor at Details. He lives in Forest Hills, Queens.
Published June 3, 2003 by Villard. 164 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Everyone's Burning

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Most amusing scene: when Leon and his new girlfriend Carrie try to get money for coke by selling his Star Wars Hans Solo handblaster, his storm trooper rifle from Empire, and his Luke Skywalker figurine with translucent blue-plastic light saber, but keep getting cheated on each item.

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Publishers Weekly

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Sometimes the lack of plot and character growth give the reader an itching desire to get off Spiegelman's merry-go-round, but Leon, despite his drink- and drug-fueled numbness, has an authenticity that makes him worth knowing.

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Entertainment Weekly

'I knew I was getting somewhere with the drinking when the superpowers started kicking in.' From that opening sentence--patterned after that of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas--Spiegelman's first novel shapes up as a pastiche of lit lit.

Jun 13 2003 | Read Full Review of Everyone's Burning: A Novel

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