New York Son by Mike Feder - review by John Gill

John Gill

And You Think You Have Problems?

New York Son


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Mike Feder is a Jewish New Yorker, married, a father of two and plagued by a traumatic family background. These facts present the skeleton of a radio show he hosts, unpaid, in New York, almost as an adjunct to his therapy. Motormouth Mike has dropped out, flopped in college, battled and parleyed with demented and dying parents, gone crazy himself and been hospitalised, and rehearsed it all on the airwaves of Station WBAI New York. In fact, it was a minor drama at WBAI, when a stoned presenter unintentionally took the station off air, that propelled Mike into the airways, and, now, print. Then station manager at WBAI, he went on air and told a story about his dead dad, and like it happens in the movies, the listeners loved him. The New York Times, Broadway and even Hollywood came flocking.

Feder’s strength, however, is that unlike in the movies, in his stories everything goes quietly and often disastrously wrong. The opening story, ‘Here’s Herbie’ sets us up for Feder’s life story as glimpsed from differing angles in the following ten stories. The mid-teens Feder is on the subway from Queens

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