An MFA graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Brian Birnbaum’s work has been published or is forthcoming in The Smart Set, The Collagist, Atticus Review, SLAM Magazine, Lit Hub, Political Animal, and more. His first novel, Emerald City, was published by Dead Rabbits in September 2019. Birnbaum is a child of deaf adults (CODA) and works in development for the family sign language interpreting business. He lives in Harlem with the writer MK Rainey's dog.
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Emerald City: A Novel
Set in Seattle, Emerald City follows Benison Behrenreich, the hearing son of Deaf royalty. His father, CEO of a multimillion-dollar Deaf access agency, has bribed Myriadal College officials for Benison’s spot on their powerhouse basketball team, where he struggles to prove himself and compensate for his father’s sins.
Julia Paolantonio has recently lost her father to a drug relapse. Her mother ships her off to live with her estranged granddad, Johnny Raciti, during the summer before her freshman year at Myriadal. Johnny offers her a deal: bring him Peter Fosch – tormented college dropout and the best drug runner west of the Cascades – and he’ll give Julia’s freshly widowed mother a board seat on his mobbed-up securities firm.
When Benison’s father is arrested for defrauding government subsidies for the Deaf, the Behrenreichs are left vulnerable to his company’s ruthless backers – namely Johnny Raciti – forcing Julia and Peter to navigate the minefield left in the aftermath.
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