Baltimore novel will be serialized in 'City Paper'

September 03, 1993|By Tim Warren | Tim Warren,Book Editor

Baltimore author Michael Kun just finished writing his second novel last month. But he won't have to wait long to see what readers will think of "Our Poor Sweet Napoleon."

That's because Mr. Kun's 592-page novel -- set almost entirely in Baltimore -- will be serialized in the City Paper, the city weekly arts newspaper. The first chapter is included in the Sept. 3-9 issue, and the City Paper will publish further chapters for about the next half- year, says editor Michael Yockel.

Mr. Yockel says he decided to serialize "Our Poor Sweet Napoleon" after Mr. Kun, an attorney in the downtown office of the Piper & Marbury firm, sent him the first two chapters a few weeks ago. "The whole idea of serializing a novel appeals to me. Newspapers used to do that a lot a long time ago." he says.

The narrator of "Our Poor Sweet Napoleon" is Hamilton Aikman, an attorney who lives in Baltimore's Mount Washington neighborhood. "It's not a legal thriller like the kinds that dozens of lawyers are writing now," says Mr. Kun, 30, whose first novel, "A Thousand Benjamins," was published in 1990. "This book is about how the narrator's life becomes changed little by little by the relationship he has with his latest client, who is charming and witty and only occasionally honest."

"I think Michael and I don't really know what to expect," concedes Mr. Kun, who says his publisher, Grove Atlantic, is considering the manuscript under its right of first refusal. "But I'm flattered because this is really a huge investment on the part of the City Paper, and it's going to take a huge commitment from readers for the next 26 weeks.

"I guess this could end up a great experience for all of us. Or maybe at the end of it all we could sit down and say, 'Well, that's why they don't serialize novels any more.' "

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