A Naked Singularity

Casi, the son of Colombian immigrants and a New York City public defender, hates his job.

“And what a job it is,” says Matt Kavanaugh in his review of A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava. “The first chapter – worth the price of admission alone – details the sordid humanity of a typical late shift at a Manhattan night court. Casi’s clientele is mad, bad and heartbreakingly sad. While their circumstances differ (drug charges, mainly), all are cast adrift in a system that treats them with contemptuous indifference at best and administrative sadism at worst.”

Casi’s disgust with his job leads him to plan the perfect crime – a heist with his colleague Dane – based on a tip from one of his clients.

This leads to “a narrative that features animated philosophical banter, hilarious courtroom scatology, a close examination of the link between perpetual surveillance and urban paranoia (Video Vigilantes and the case of Baby Tula) and, the best part of the novel, a running commentary on the boxing career of Wilfred Benitez, the rise and fall of which parallels Casi’s sense of his own predicament,” says Kavanaugh.

He concludes that the novel “has about as much to do with the legal thrillers written by John Grisham as Melville’s Moby-Dick has to do with JawsA Naked Singularity is a hugely ambitious book, if uneven. Upon hearing Dane’s plans for the heist, Casi describes it as ‘a fiction so powerful it outrealized reality,’ which is a pretty good description of the novel as a whole.”

Read the full review here.




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