A Boardwalk Story: J. Louis Yampolsky Spins a Remarkable Tale of Depression-era Atlantic City, New Jersey, in His Stunning First Novel

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Lifelong accountant J. Louis Yampolsky spins a remarkable tale of Depression-era Atlantic City, New Jersey, in his stunning first novel from the publisher of Boardwalk Empire

1939 Atlantic City comes alive in this remarkable novel

Plexus Publishing, Inc., whose Boardwalk Empire is the basis of a highly-anticipated dramatic series from Martin Scorsese and HBO, announced publication of A Boardwalk Story, an historical novel by J. Louis "Jack" Yampolsky. The novel is the first from Yampolsky, described by the publisher as "an 80-something accountant and financial manager with a rare gift for storytelling."

"1939 Atlantic City comes alive in this remarkable novel," according to novelist and screenwriter Alan R. Trustman, who penned the screenplays for The Thomas Crown Affair and Bullitt. Trustman said, "A Boardwalk Story is made to order for the movies!"

Yampolsky's vivid coming-of-age tale is set in the tenth year of the Great Depression in America, as Europe stands on the brink of war. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, a seashore resort town that springs to life every summer, 15-year-old Jack Laurel's life is turned upside down by an almost magical convergence of people and events. A mysterious boardwalk entertainer inspires a love of literature, a feud with neighborhood bullies escalates, and innocence is lost.

As the annual influx of summer tourists floods the boardwalk, Jack stumbles into commodities trading with two men--one a reclusive mystic, the other a charismatic pitchman and mathematical savant. Inspired by the musings of a boardwalk fortuneteller, the three partners are poised to reap unimagined profits. But a house of cards is about to come down around them and, with it, the wrath of Atlantic City's iron-fisted mob boss.

"Thirty years ago, I published historical novels almost exclusively," said John B. Bryans, Yampolsky's editor at Plexus, "and from the first page of A Boardwalk Story I knew it was something special." Bryans described his astonishment to learn that the author was a lifelong accountant with no professional writing experience. "Here is a first-time author whose characters, dialogue, and situations are wholly authentic … who instantly transports you to a faraway place and time … and who can give a history lesson without the reader even realizing it," Bryans said. "Who knew an accountant could write like this? Not me."

The author's literary influences may offer a clue to his success as a late-blooming novelist. "My favorite author is Joseph Conrad, the incomparable one," Yampolsky said. "I marvel at his command of English and its nuances; so remarkable, having been born in Poland and not exposed to the English language until he was a young man, working as a seaman on an English commercial sailing ship. From where and how did his gift come? … I thought that if ever I were a writer, I would want to be a Conrad. As it turns out, my writing couldn't be more different, but I hope that, like Conrad, my book feels real and satisfies."

A Boardwalk Story evokes nostalgia for the days when Atlantic City was the "Playground of the World"--the home of gilded Arabesque hotels, elegant shops, parades, and pageants. Men strolled the boardwalk in navy blue blazers and creamy flannel trousers with women on their arms in long dresses, stylish hats, and satin gloves to the elbows. The Steel Pier was the grandest entertainment spot in the world. For 35 cents, you could spend the whole day swaying and dancing to the most famous of the crooners and big bands, thrill to acrobats, jugglers, and the famous diving horse, and travel to the ocean floor in a glass capsule. By 1939, war clouds in Europe cast a long shadow; in September, with Hitler's invasion of Poland, World War II would begin. For the resort and the nation, life would change forever.

"Yampolsky knows his Atlantic City history," said Bryant Simon, Professor of History and Director of American Studies at Temple University and author of Boardwalk of Dreams. Simon described A Boardwalk Story as "a sweet, nostalgic ode to a lost time, to an Atlantic City of first crushes and summer jobs, to cool boardwalk breezes and hot sandy days, and to hardworking fathers, roguish pitchmen who double as philosopher kings, connected men who know the meaning of honor, and corner boys who talk with their fists and act without thinking. … An impressive debut."

Book Launch "on the Boardwalk"
A book launch and signing with J. Louis Yampolsky will take place on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 1:00-3:30PM, at the Atlantic City Art Center (http://www.acartcenter.org) on Garden Pier, New Jersey Avenue and the Boardwalk. The free event is open to the public and books will be available for sale. Light refresh-ments will be served. For information contact Susan Ditmire (609/568-6801) or Linda Chamberlain (609/654-6500).

J. Louis Yampolsky is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He practiced public accounting for 40 years before retiring from public practice to become a financial manager of trusts and investment partnerships. He lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and in Margate, New Jersey, with his wife, Judith. A Boardwalk Story is his first novel.

A Boardwalk Story (488 pp/hardcover/$24.95/ISBN 978-0-937548-72-1) is represented to the book trade by Parson Weems Publisher Services. It is available in bookstores and by contacting the publisher at 609/654-6500, by email, or on the web at http://www.plexuspublishing.com.

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