My first full-length novel, The Merchants of Zion, is available for purchase on Amazon. It’s $3.99.
I wrote the first draft six years ago, after I graduated from college and had trouble finding a job. Some people might have redoubled their efforts in search of employment, but I devoted all my energy toward writing a novel, basically saying, “Fuck this, I’m going to be the next F. Scott Fitzgerald.”
Needless to say, that didn’t happen. I finished the book, didn’t get a job, and left New York. I became disillusioned with the quality of The Merchants of Zion and it languished on my hard drive. Last year I decided to give self-publishing a shot and I looked over the book, intending to throw it up as-is for a few dollars. But as I was rereading it I felt that would be unfair to Cliff, James, and Ruth, as I was much more capable of providing them with a quality fictional world than I had been before. So began a long process of redrafting, in which time I got engaged, moved to Nashville, and saw my betrothal turn to marriage.
So what is The Merchants of Zion? My goal when I originally wrote it, and to which I stayed faithful in the redrafting, was to write a book where the readers would realize the world is dystopian, but where the characters would have no idea. To them it’s just the way things are. It’s set in the near future (think 30-50 years from now) and humanity thought it was on the brink of an artificial intelligence revolution, but for reasons expanded on in the book that turned out not to be the case. Although the world isn’t ending, everything is crummier than it is today. The government is snoopier, the news is propagandier, the economy is brittler, the wars are more widespread, and the sea levels are higher. The gadgets, however, are much whizzbangier.
Against this backdrop is set the primary plot: a tale of love, jealousy, and money. The novel is narrated by Cliff, a Brooklyn dwelling slacker. It starts with an old friend of his, James, showing up at his doorstep, destitute. James was enmeshed in the world of high finance, but has fallen from grace and needs a place to lick his wounds and plot his revenge.
It’s a political book, but more Kurt Vonnegut and less Upton Sinclair, by which I mean it’s not driven by ideology. Cliff is a flaneur, he’s not about to get caught up writing editorials for Jacobin or quoting Atlas Shrugged. But the world is a scary place, and sometimes ordinary people get pulled into dangerous situations against their will. The Merchants of Zion is about finding your identity while the world around you falls apart.
If you missed the links above, you can buy it here.