The Salsa King of Scarsdale
by Ben Fine
Hancock Press

"She had a way when she spoke of making him feel important, something no other woman had ever done."

Ira Brodsky is a middle-aged OBGYN from a prominent Jewish family who finds himself in an identity crisis. He questions who he is, how he wants to live his life, and whom he wants to love. His family is surprised when Ira—a successful doctor, respectable husband, and father—becomes fascinated and quickly encompassed by his new passion for Spanish culture. And as someone fixated on status and "having it all," Ira also knows that this obsession with perfection is an impossible ideal. It's only a matter of time before he must choose between the reliable family man he used to be and the man he has become.

From affluent doctor to astonishing dancer, Ira's life turns upside down. His sudden obsession with Latino culture holds the potential to revolutionize his sense of self. With his reputable practice and his family's reputation, Ira thinks he knows who he is and what he wants. But can a man like him, at his age, find the independence and freedom that he may not even know he needs?

Fine introduces early on that Ira will somehow become the "Salsa King," yet the path that he takes to achieve this transformation creates a startling surprise. Through close third-person narration, we see the ramblings and desires inside of Ira's head, as well as Fine's skillful contrast between Ira's running internal monologue and his gentlemanly outward demeanor. Intriguingly, these secretive musings aren't distinguished from his regular dialogue. Both internal and external remarks are displayed through quotation marks, implying that the private nuances of Ira's mind are things that he is saying aloud. Although this can create some mild confusion, having both vantage points allows a full picture of the drama and conflict occurring within Ira. Overall, Fine has crafted a romance that goes deeper than lust and transcends the cliché.

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