The Art of Losing: A Novel
Macmillan, 2007 M02 20 - 243 pages
Michael Jacobs, a talented but obscure New York City filmmaker, has just watched his third film flop at the box office. With few options available, Jacobs is tempted by the prospect of easy cash when Sebby Laslo, his producer, makes a one-time offer. With the help of a corrupt jockey, Laslo plans to fix a horse race, but his gambling debts have left him untouchable and he needs someone he can trust to be the public face of the operation. Though Laslo is known for taking risks, Jacobs, hoping to repay an old favor to his friend, agrees to help.
Jacobs soon meets two Atlantic City bookmakers: Nikos Popolosikc, a quietly menacing restaurateur known for breaking hands; and Lad Keegan, a soft-spoken bar owner whose superstitions are bad for his clients' health. When Laslo's plan fails, Jacobs, heavily in debt, is ensnared by a violent underworld he neither knows nor understands. In the inevitable reckoning, Jacobs and Laslo become hunted men—and only one of them will escape.
Keith Dixon's second novel is a morality tale of stunning resonance and breathtaking symmetry. Hard-boiled yet deeply contemplative, allegorical yet starkly realistic, The Art of Losing divines the corrosive nature of greed, the terrible power of recklessness, and the consequences that erupt when those forces meet.