story’s older main character. Lucien is an art dealer and Nathaniel’s
uncle, the husband of Nathaniel’s mother’s younger sister, Charlie.
Lucien was born and bred in New York and has an intimate relationship with
the city. He helped arrange for Nathaniel and his friends to live
in an apartment owned by a client of his named Matsumoto. Lucien
has not fully recovered from the grief of losing Charlie to cancer
or from the trauma of 9
feels that he’s growing very old.
in-depth analysis of Lucien.
story’s young protagonist. Nathaniel has come to New York from his
hometown in the Midwest because has always envisioned himself living
in the Big Apple. He works as an architect in the architectural
division of the New York subway system but spends his free time drawing
a semi-autobiographical comic that dramatizes the life of his hero
Passivityman. He’s lived in Matsumoto’s apartment with his three
best friends, Lyle, Amity, and Madison, for about three years.
in-depth analysis of Nathaniel.
wife and the sister of Nathaniel’s mother. Charlie was born in America
and met Lucian in New York. She was beautiful and artistic, which
made her sister, Rose, jealous. Charlie died of cancer before Nathaniel
moved to the city.
friend from college. Lyle sublets Matsumoto’s apartment and works
as a sound technician in a theater. According to Nathaniel, Lyle’s “superpower”
is his ability to arouse pity in anybody.
friend from college. Madison sublets Matsumoto’s apartment and recently
quit his lucrative job working for a prestigious public relations
firm. According to Nathaniel, Madison’s “superpower” is level-headedness.
Madison recently learned he has a sister he never knew.
friend from college. Amity sublets Matsumoto’s apartment and works
at a department store selling beauty products. She recently wrote
a book about her experiences called Inner Beauty Secrets
Nathaniel believes her special trait is exploiting the weaknesses
mother and the older sister of Lucien’s deceased wife, Charlie.
Rose emigrated from Eastern Europe when she was just a child and
has never fully recovered from the experience. She lives in the
Midwest and is a practicing Jew.
father and Rose’s wife. Isaac immigrated to America from Eastern
Europe with his family when he was a very young boy and never fully
recovered from the traumatic experience. He works for a company
that manufactures vacuum cleaners, a financially stable occupation.
He is Jewish and a member of his local temple.
older, exotic female friend. Delphine is of Armenian decent and
doesn’t think of herself as American. She came to New York seeking
a romantic experience and dates rich, older men. She is very beautiful
and attends Lucien’s fancy art parties.
- A wealthy Japanese client of Lucien’s. Matsumoto
has allowed Nathaniel and his friends to sublet his apartment while
he is living outside New York. The apartment is very close to the
site of the World Trade Center.