The Astrologer’s Circle
While pursuing his degree, Joe Wheelwright decides to dabble in astrology to make extra cash. Though he is agnostic on the power of stars and planets to predict human fate, his clients are anything but. What follows is an insider’s gaze at the intelligentsia of mid-twentieth-century New York City—their feet anchored in brick and pavement while their minds spin with Eastern mysticism. David Rubin brilliantly dissects the paradoxes of human nature in a comic adventure in which everyone fancies one another while no one trusts a soul. Propelled by sex, secrets, musical compulsions and occult yearnings, they remind the reader that all humans carry contradictions the stars themselves can’t untangle.
Cassio and the Life Divine
Peter Cassio is an unconventional and uninhibited American wanderer whose ruthlessly candid view of the world is able to harmonize both joy and compassion. The unreconciled influences of Cassio’s Greek-Jewish mother and Neapolitan father—violinist, confidence man, and philosopher—have made him a skeptic, pagan, and romantic. Down and out in India, about to start for home, he is caught up in a wild chase for the beautiful and enigmatic Susanna, who is one-part saint, one-part temptress. What unfolds is a spiritual comedy of Cassio’s search for the Life Divine preached by Swami, a worldly sage who does not scorn sensual love. Throughout the novel Cassio searches, through tough neighborhoods and picaresque vistas, encountering a host of extraordinary characters: diplomats, charlatans, freeloaders, status seekers, and hipsters. The language of the novel is as free and exhilarating as Cassio’s mind, brilliantly recording his humor and the jagged contours of his appetite for life.
The Golden American
Alex Tanner is a professor of Classics at Yale University. A previous run for office in Connecticut bore no fruit, though he still maintains a connection with politics. For this reason he’s invited onto the Golden American, a luxury boat that, unbeknownst to him, is filled with potential donors for his former student’s bid for president. Deceit, murder, and a poisonous snake on the loose—well, many snakes, in a sense—fill this adventurous, nail-biting voyage. David Rubin displays an inimitable grasp of high society and all its follies in this page-turning epic that stands up perfectly in today’s charged political climate, reminding us once again that the wealthy buying elections is nothing new.
Everyone is running from something at the Jacaranda, a low-key summer getaway in Hesper Key on the gulf side in Florida. Stella Hennessey took over operations when her gambling husband disappeared, relying on the income of a cast of characters that summer in this out-of-the-way enclave. That is, until Frank Dallary finds himself on the run after a failed coup and in need of a hideout. Only this is a calculated move: Frank’s long-lost, unsuspecting nephew, Robert, works for Stella. Uncle Frank wants to inspire Robert’s piano career with his wide range of contacts but has to approach the situation carefully, as Robert is filled with the same temperamental Dallary blood. Meanwhile Frank seems a bit over his head with Stella, who has plans of her own. Part romance, part murder mystery, part family reunion, and all around adventure story, this is one of David Rubin’s most fully realized novels, introducing the world to the tangled web of the Dallary family, which would continue in his writings throughout his life.
The Mountain King
A mysterious letter shows up from Jane Farrington postmarked Calcutta; that’s the last anyone has heard from her. Nicholas Bowman, a ‘useless’ heir to the family fortune, is sent by Jane’s mother to rescue her from India. Unemployed and unmotivated, Nicholas decides to take the bait. He ends up finding Jane—and losing her, and finding her—and much, much more. With his deep knowledge of Indian culture and philosophy, David Rubin creates a fantastical world filled with political and social criticism set beside the eternal quest for meaning humans have engaged in as long as we’ve been on this planet.
On Indian Time
“It hadn’t changed, this Indian night world, and it remained indescribable to anyone who hadn’t lived in it. Because to be here, in it, you felt different, you were different. Different things were important, like now, something dense and engulfing in the night, an overwhelming aloneness you couldn’t decide was ecstatic or terrifying.”
These words were left behind by David Rubin for the back cover of one of his final unpublished manuscripts. In On Indian Time we return to the mythical Indian city of Gauhar, where Tony Archer has been assigned to work as an American diplomat. Only Archer was born in Gauhar and knows the territory and people—natives and a host of European expats—all too well. In this gripping tale of political corruption, romance, social strife, and mystery, Archer also becomes trapped by the enticing lore the city holds in his own quest for self-realization—a quest he’s not sure he’s up to taking.
David Rubin’s imagination runs free in this novel about a fictional Caribbean island, St. Michael Amargas, located at the end of the Great Breakaway Reef. Charlie Sanderson returns after many years to visit his family’s business, Sanderson’s Breakaway Reef Hotel. This is no congenial visit, however: Charlie’s running from something in America; his last recourse is to confront his father once again. In his most politically-charged thriller, Rubin explores the complex intertwined realities of family life, colonialism, politics, and romance. Charlie stumbles his way through murder, conspiracy, and espionage in this nail-biting page-turner.
This collection of three short stories features David Rubin’s keen insights into human nature by following a young Robert Dallary from the Florida coast to Manhattan, where he enters the elite social circle of his uncle, Frank. In ‘Cerberus Shoals’ we find a broke Robert gaining employment on a small boat smuggling questionable goods. His interactions with the captain, Tote Walmus, and his not-so-faithful wife, Georgie, along with her dependably drunk father, Poley, carry this adventurous story along. Robert receives many initiations en route to his destination. In ‘Princess Nashreen at Home’ we find Robert employed and living in New York City, thanks to Uncle Frank, who has made his recent fortune running gambling operations even though he himself does not gamble. Robert does take a gamble, however, when connecting with the Iranian and Egyptian royalty, Princess Nashreen. Finally, in ‘A Rehearsal,’ we find Robert facing an existential dilemma: remain in these elite surroundings with his Hungarian Jewish girlfriend, Judy Aranyi, or break out to pursue his passion: the piano. His Russian teacher, Madame Dolgoruki, helps him pursue his destiny—that which, he learns, he creates for himself.
So Late into the Night
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Several characters run throughout the prolific David Rubin’s many novels. The mysterious Frank Dallary is the most known, appearing in several works. In ‘So Late into the Night,’ Rubin explores Dallary’s background, how he went from an orphan at the age of five to being the Director of the Paris branch of Vincent & Burke Investments. And while Dallary and family appear throughout this fine book, the plot hinges on American composer and President of Portsmouth College of Music, Edward Northland, who is trying to figure out the identity of his wife’s lover. Twenty-one years senior to Kate, Northland’s existential crisis sets the stage for this insightful journey through the world of Northeastern privilege, academic bickering, and high society in America in the 1970s. As always, Rubin’s inquisitive frankness dominates, as he leaves no character’s soul unturned.
When a mysterious book, The End of Professor Salamandra, starts circulating around Southern State University’s Manhattan campus, it’s immediately apparent the professor in question is really the verbose Albie Mandragore. Suspicions arise that Mandragore’s longtime rival, Charles Greenfield, is the author—their long-standing family feud stretches from pre-war Vienna to New York City of the seventies. Yet no one at the university is spared from gossip, betrayal, and romantic confusion by David Rubin’s pen in this insightful, page-turning tale.