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THE HAZARDS OF GOOD FORTUNE

Seth Greenland's new novel, The Hazards of Good Fortune, will be published by Europa Editions in 2018.

A white cop shoots an unarmed black man in ambiguous circumstances, and the reverberations reach all the way up to the highest levels of society. Combining elements of comedy and tragedy, The Hazards of Good Fortune is a New York novel about power, race, money, sex, ambition, family, and real estate.

Jay Gladstone is a mensch. Born to privilege, he is a civic leader and a generous philanthropist. Married to his second wife, a former model turned Congressional aide; he is the scion of a New York real estate family and the owner of an NBA team. When Gladstone is accused of being a racist, the life of this exemplary citizen is thrown into turmoil that threatens his relationships, his business interests, and his freedom.

Set in 2012, the last year of President Obama’s first term, this multi-layered, satirical novel shifts between perspectives that, taken together, illuminate a broad swath of contemporary America. Along with Jay Gladstone’s gilded universe, the author explores the worlds of an opportunistic district attorney who refuses to let a failing marriage interfere with her plan to run for Governor, an aging professional athlete in search of one last payday and his co-dependent entourage, a group of college radicals determined to take bold action in the fight against racism, a virtuous but unlucky cop who wants to be a lawyer, and a feisty pair of talk radio personalities who serve as a Greek chorus.

The novel is an attempt to wrestle with some of the most vexing contemporary questions: Who has the standing to say what to whom? Why is the American conversation about race so fraught? To what degree is the justice system impartial? Is the position of Jews in American society being eclipsed by other minority groups demanding a more prominent voice? Does vast wealth reliably inoculate those who possess it against misfortune, no matter their background? 

With a sharp eye for character and a finely wrought plot that braids all of these worlds together and culminates in a shattering conclusion, Greenland stirs the ingredients into a fiction that feels as contemporary as tomorrow's headlines.


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