It's the boom years of the 1980s, and life is closing in on Nathan Seltzer, who rarely travels beyond his suddenly gentrifying Lower East Side neighborhood. Between paralyzing bouts of claustrophobia, Nathan wonders whether he should cheat on his wife with Karoline, a German pastry maker whose parents may or may not have been Nazis. His father, Harry, is plotting with the 1960s boogaloo star Chow Mein Vega for the comeback of this dance craze. Meanwhile, a homicidal drug addict is terrorizing the neighbourhood. This book is a comedy of cultures, of the old and the new, of Latinos, Jews, Sicilians, and Germans. It's about struggling to hold on to life in a rapidly changing world, about food and sex, and about how our lives are shaped by love and guilt.