It's the boom years of the 1980s, and life is closing in on Nathan Seltzer, who rarely travels outside his suddenly gentrifying Lower East Side neighbourhood. While he tries to decide whether he should cheat on his wife with Karoline, a German pastry chef whose parents may or may not have been Nazis, his father, Harry, is plotting with the 1960s boogaloo star Chow Mein Vega for the comeback of this dance craze. Meanwhile, a homicidal drug addict is terrorizing the neighbourhood.
With its ensemble cast of unforgettable characters, Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue is a comedy of cultures about the old and the new, about Latinos, Jews, Sicilians and Germans. It's about struggling to hold onto life in a rapidly changing world, about food and sex and about how our lives are shaped by love and guilt.
Mark Kurlansky is the bestselling author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (winner of the Glenfidish Best Food Book Award), The Basque History of the World, Salt: A World History, 1968: The Year that Rocked the World and a short story collection The White Man in the Tree (all published by Cape and Vintage). He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.