The Perfume Burned His Eyes
Emmy-winning actor Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos, The White Lotus, etc.) brilliantly evokes 1970s New York in this Holden Caulfield-esque debut
" T]he actor's first novel is a quintessential New York story: A teenager moves from Queens to Manhattan, discovering a world populated with drugs, sex, a witch, and Lou Reed. It's like a vivid walk through the city and adolescence, reveling in their grit and pathos."
--New York Times
"Imperioli's first novel is the atmospheric coming-of-age story of sixteen-year-old Matthew, whose mother moves them from Queens to a posh apartment in Manhattan in 1976 . . . Imperioli can definitely write, and he gets high marks for the verisimilitude and empathy that he evokes in this fine crossover novel."
--Booklist, starred review
Matthew is a sixteen-year-old boy living in Jackson Heights, Queens, in 1976. After he loses his two most important male role models, his father and grandfather, his mother uses her inheritance to uproot Matthew and herself to a posh apartment building in Manhattan. Although only three miles away from his boyhood home, "the city" is a completely new and strange world to Matthew.
Matthew soon befriends (and becomes a factotum of sorts to) Lou Reed, who lives with his transgender girlfriend Rachel in the same building. The artistic-shamanic rocker eventually becomes an unorthodox father figure to Matthew, who finds himself head over heels for the mysterious Veronica, a wise-beyond-her-years girl he meets at his new school.
The novel is written from the point of view of Matthew at age eighteen, two years after the story begins, and concludes with an epilogue in the year 2013, three days after Lou Reed's death, with Matthew in his fifties.
About the Author
Michael Imperioli is best known for his starring role as Christopher Moltisanti in the acclaimed TV series The Sopranos, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Emmy Award. He also wrote five episodes of the show; was coscreenwriter of the film Summer of Sam, directed by Spike Lee; and was anthologized in The Nicotine Chronicles, edited by Lee Child. Imperioli has appeared in six of Spike Lee's films and has also acted in films by Martin Scorsese, Abel Ferrara, Walter Hill, Peter Jackson, and the Hughes Brothers. He cohosts the rewatch podcast, Talking Sopranos, with his Sopranos costar Steve Schirripa, with whom he also penned the best-selling book, Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos. Additionally, he is a singer and guitarist in the band ZOPA. Follow him on Instagram: @realmichaelimperioli.