Windy City by Scott Simon

March 31, 2008
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Windy City
Scott Simon

Random House
3-31-08
Hardcover/384 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4000-6557-8
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"Never have politics been shown in a more direct and forgiving light."

Windy City: Looking through the doors of Chicago politics in the wake of murder.

 

 

Alderman Sundaram “Sunny” Roopini is rousted out of bed in the middle of the night to go to City Hall. He discovers his friend and colleague, the mayor of Chicago, has died in his shorts while munching a midnight pizza. As vice-mayor, Sunny must assume the mantle of command as interim mayor until the fifty aldermen of Chicago’s political machine can vote a successor. After twenty years of service to his ward, Sunny must consider the needs of all instead of just the people in his small corner of the city. He gets a new view of what his job means in the greater scheme, a view that could change his future.

Politics is a dirty game, but in the capable hands of author Scott Simon politics becomes an intriguing and often funny world. He lays bare the underpinnings and intricate wheels of one of America’s most recognizable cities. Simon’s quick humor and keen insight make Windy City a primer for anyone contemplating politics and a handbook every citizen should have on the shelf. Never have politics been shown in a more direct and forgiving light. Simon details the sometimes Machiavellian machinations that keep the trash and snow off the streets and the buses and trains running on time. More than this, he adroitly illustrates the laughter, tears and trade-offs that make city politics more than a hackneyed cliché.

The people inhabiting Simon’s Windy City are complex and memorable individuals—those who share the stage for the entire story and those who walk on briefly. These denizens populate a brilliantly drawn, fully imagined and familiar world. This is superb literature with a strong beating heart and a marvelous and oftentimes humorous sensibility.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

 

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