Excerpt from Inamorata by Joseph Gangemi, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Inamorata

by Joseph Gangemi

Inamorata by Joseph Gangemi X
Inamorata by Joseph Gangemi
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2004, 319 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2005, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter 1

"Hypnotize her."

I looked at the girl Halliday had just shoved at me like a virgin sacrifice. She was a leggy little sophomore from Radcliffe, slim as a cigarette, with a black bob and painted brows that gave her a look of pretty astonishment. She gazed up at me in myopic perplexity, as if my face were a puzzle she'd completed only to find herself holding an unaccounted piece.

I looked at Halliday. "I beg your pardon?"

"Hypnotize her, Finch," he repeated. "Everyone knows you can do it."

"You're mistaken."

"Am I? Why don't we ask Dickie Hodgson's sister?"

Halliday gave me a challenging look. The smug son of a bitch knew he had me. I glanced past him to the nearest exit, clear across Emerson's student lounge, calculating the odds of making my escape before Halliday succeeded in drawing a crowd. A few years earlier I might've stood a chance, but ever since Prohibition attendance at the psychology department's illicit Christmas soirées had soared. The path to freedom tonight was blocked by a fox-trotting mob of besotted doctoral candidates. No, Halliday had me cornered. Though that didn't mean I was defeated.

"I can't hypnotize her, Wick."

"Why?"

"For starters"—I stalled—"she's tight."

"I am not!" The girl stamped the floor with one satin-shod foot. I threw her a look to keep quiet, but it was too late; she'd already managed to create a scene. Several of our classmates within earshot were drifting our way to investigate. And Halliday wasted no time encouraging them.

"Gather 'round, ladies and gentlemen," he called over their heads, playing carnival barker. "Our own Dr. Caligari is going to grace us with a demonstration of his formidable mental powers!" Someone switched off the gramophone, and the music—a dance number called "Bit by Bit You're Breaking My Heart" by Charles Dornberger and His Orchestra—went silent, leaving only the susurrus of the inebriated crowd. As all eyes in the lounge turned our way my throat constricted and the roof of my mouth began to sweat. It was a recurrent nightmare come to life— the one consolation being that in the present version, at least, I was still wearing my trousers. God only knew what was going through the head of Halliday's girl at that moment. I felt a sudden and overwhelming wave of tenderness toward her, this girl whose name I didn't even know.

But when I turned to show her what I hoped was a reassuring look, I found Halliday's girl glaring at me. Arms crossed. One toe tapping the carpet in agitation. She gave me the withering look of an impatient prostitute, asked, "Well, what are you waiting for?"

"I suppose ... a pocketwatch."

Another bluff. All I'd needed was a birthday candle to get Dickie Hodgson's sister howling like a beagle that had heard a fire siren. As last-ditch efforts went, I gave this one even odds at succeeding. Thanks to the war, wristwatches were no longer considered effeminate, at least among the college set, while their stuffier, vest-dwelling forebears were quickly going the way of the pince-nez. Or so I sincerely hoped.

"Here!"

I cringed as the pocketwatch came through the crowd, passing from hand to hand until it arrived in my own—an absurd thing, heavy as a gold-plated turnip, its weight in my palm conjuring images of a firelit study, an alcoholic judge, a solemn retelling of some ancestor's decisive role in the Louisiana Purchase. I opened its gold cover and read the inscription: Truth lies at the center of a circle. Maybe so for the watch's owner. But all I stood to discover at the center of the circle of onlookers now surrounding me was a very public embarrassment.

"The floor's all yours, sport," Halliday said.

Copyright Joseph Gangemi 2004. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Viking Publishing.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...
  • Book Jacket: The Judge Hunter
    The Judge Hunter
    by Christopher Buckley
    In London 1664, Balthasar de St. Michel or "Balty" has no discernable skills besides pestering his ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Summer Wives
    by Beatriz Williams

    An electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power and redemption set on an island off the New England coast.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Clock Dance
    by Anne Tyler

    A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.