Whisky Magazine Issue 64
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What would you do if you knew you only had one day to live? It's one of those questions we as a species dubiously blessed with the knowledge of our own mortality can't help posing from time to time.
It's also the starting point for David Benioff's fine 2002 novel The 25th Hour.
Monty Brogan had it all, a pretty face, a hot Puerto Rican girlfriend and a nice career as a low-level drug dealer – until he was sentenced to seven years in a state penitentiary.
Now he's got one final day in New York City before the start of his sentence, and as I suspect would be the same for most of us, his plans include meeting up with friends for drinks.
Benioff is too shrewd a storyteller to restrict his focus to Brogan.
The 25th Hour hops between Brogan's friends' perspectives as though they were subway lines, ringing the changes on the basic theme of dread versus bravado.
One of those friends is 30-something schoolteacher Jakob Elinsky who gets a head-start on Brogan's last big night out.
It's one of the last of the vintage saloons on Amsterdam Avenue, complete with a stamped-tin ceiling, wood panelling sooted from decades of cigarette smoke, and frosted windows. Women rarely make an appearance here. Jakob supposes that the old men lounging about the room are gay, but this place is far from a pickup joint. More like a waiting room except Jakob's not sure what they are waiting for.
The 25th Hour was turned into a film by Spike Lee – the author and the director share an obvious love ...