Take the A Train (Magill's Literary Annual 1979)
Take the A Train is a novel depicting the rites of passage in today’s America, a social ritual surviving from the world of antiquity but just as real in today’s racially torn cities as in any wilderness of the ancient world.
Michael Blankfort, a California author with a long list of novels to his credit, has written a novel based on his early years in New York. In many ways it could be aptly termed a Catcher in the Rye of the late 1970’s, for Blankfort may be picking up the literary torch that Salinger seems to have put down. He is also following in another American literary tradition first publicized by critic Leslie Fiedler, that of love between two male figures. Blankfort’s novel chronicles the friendship and deep love between two superficially opposite males: one a restless, defiant, scheming, yet naïve Jewish teenager, and the other a bold, brave, worldly, yet “ethical” black racketeer. It is no surprise to the reader to discover that when Doc finally returns to his studies, his chief literary interest is American Literature: “. . . Huck Finn and Nigger Jim . . . I liked them a lot.”
The plot of Take the A Train is neither intricate nor particularly violent. More important in Blankfort’s novel are the character portrayals, and for the most part the author succeeds in bringing alive realistic and believable persons. If some of the characters are occasionally stereotypes in their behavior or...
(The entire section is 2292 words.)
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