There were parts of Adam Langer’s Ellington Boulevard that I really liked, and other parts that I really didn’t, so I figure that evens out to about 3 stars, right? This is one of those books with a handful of characters who all end up connected in one way or another. A lot of the novel rests on the characters — their actions towards each other propel everything. Basically, anything involving the tenant, the buyer, the buyer’s husband, the buyer’s husband’s girlfriend and the tenant’s dog were all golden (this is how these characters are introduced in the novel). Bad stuff: the obnoxious owner and his girlfriend, the realtor and most of the tertiary characters. Still, the relationship between those first four (and the dog) made the whole novel worthwhile.
The other main character in Ellington Boulevard is the apartment, rented by the tenant, owned by owner, shown around by the realtor, and so on. Music plays a pretty big role, along with theater and New York City itself. The novel tends to meander — it’s definitely not what you would call “action-packed” — but following these various characters around and seeing how their lives interconnect is pretty interesting, if not wildly compelling. The character of Jane Earhart – aka the buyer’s husband’s girlfriend — could have had a novel to herself, where we could have learned more about her past and what drives her decisions in her present.
I’m not making it sounds particularly exciting, but Ellington Boulevard was a good read and it’s easy enough to skim past the dull bits….