Antoine Gold and the Rolls Royce and
Other Bankruptcy Short Stories
by Hal Taxel Florida Academic Press

"The whole thing could lead to a legal morass with the trustee caught in the middle of the muddle. / I like that: the middle of the muddle."

Hal Taxel's Antoine Gold and the Rolls Royce and Other Bankruptcy Short Stories is a collection of bankruptcy vignettes, some feeling more as creative nonfiction than fiction, as seen through the eyes of a U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee. From this place of privilege, the narrator takes the reader on a hilarious and witty ride through the circuitous route that is the U.S Bankruptcy Court system. This includes the how's and why's people utilize the system while trying to justify their attempts in having to repay their debts.

What is most apparent throughout all of Taxel's stories is the balance between trust and power linking the characters. There is an ever-pervasive teetering between concealment and discovery as the petitioner's are scrutinized by the narrator in his role as trustee. Confidence is always compromised and the narrator's expectations of seeing, to borrow a line from Honest Abe Lincoln, the better angels of people's nature, are rarely if ever met.

Taxel exposes these phonies and their attorneys, from both sides of the aisle, through the implementation of an engaging and comical voice of the narrator, which is probably not too remote from the persona of the author himself. Each chapter can server as it's own stand alone piece, but together all the stories fit into one cohesive unit, telling of the endless ups and downs of being a Federal Bankruptcy Court Trustee. By merely perusing through the table of contents and encountering chapter titles such as "The Swindle," "Ken and Barbie," and "Farsi is Spoken Here," one can almost sense the charming tragic comedy this collection has to offer, but one must fully digest this book in order to truly give it justice.

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