Bloom is the kind of guy who ends most social gatherings with an alternately raging and despairing conversation about The State of the World. And recently things have taken a turn for the worse. His marriage is on the rocks, his teenage son is becoming increasingly unknowable, and his sense of hopeless impotence has reached a stage of spiritual crisis that's no longer a matter of vapid dinner-party conversation.
So he decamps to his home office to work on his fifteenth screenplay, this time about a federal agent and a nameless assassin. The assassin is a sniper who targets the power elite: corporate chiefs who defraud their employees of billions of dollars in pensions, and political flacks who've rigged the system in their own favor. Only the federal agent isn't sure he wants to capture the sniper.
Soon Bloom realizes that his screenplay hits too close to home: He really does want these people dead, so much so that this revenge fantasy takes over his life, sending him in search of salvation in an outrageous mentor, a possibly dangerous foreign country, and, finally, his very own backyard.
“Hasak-Lowy has built a complex, hilarious and unpleasantly vivid dissection model of the contemporary liberal mind…Captives offers the reader something that his screenplay denies him—a lesson in the transformative power of creativity . . . No novel we read this year quite caught the zeitgeist of liberal thinking in the mid-2000s like Hasak-Lowy’s debut. And few made us laugh as hard.” — Time Out Chicago, Top Ten Books of 2008
“[A] Barbed, farcical, and ambitious first novel… Hasak-Lowy’s bold comedy of conscience is alluring, clever, and mordantly funny.” — Booklist
“[A] Darkly humorous debut novel…This wittily incisive take on the film business, suburban life, and contemporary dystopia is recommended.” — Library Journal
“The novel intelligently explores the deeper implications of America’s obsession with violence.” — Time Out New York
“He has an exceptional ear for the competitive vibe that dominates conversation these days and delivers it in stretches of sharp, smart rat-a-tat dialogue.” — Bloomberg.com