Meet Richard Seldin, author of Pearls Beneath the Rind and his newest, Below the Line in Beijing.
Below the Line in Beijing
Without apparent cause, the novel’s protagonist and narrator, a 61 year-old attorney and former track star, awakens next to his wife in his Baltimore home unable to speak. He questions whether his sudden muteness is due to loss of sexual desire for this wife, but this isn’t new. For several years, he’s been undergoing a second psychoanalysis to understand his physical indifference to her as well as powerful fantasies about hooking-up with young women. These fantasies have intensified following the appearance of Jim, his alter ego.
While attending the 2008 Beijing Olympics and exploring the City’s rapid transformations, Jim leads the protagonist on a quest for young women. As in the past, the narrator is both awed and repelled by Jim’s guiltless lechery. On their last day in Beijing, Jim persuades the protagonist to visit a high-end brothel where he is overcome with desire for a beautiful, young prostitute. The narrator must then choose between carnal pleasure and love for this wife.
Richard Seldin graduated from New York University in 1968 with a B.A. in Political Science, and in 1972 received a J.D. from Fordham Law School where he was managing editor of the law review. Most of his 30 year career as a U.S. government attorney was with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). His primary responsibilities included reviewing, and writing parts of, reports on United States-China trade relations and United States involvement in the World Trade Organization. While at GAO he won many awards for his work, including a GAO agency-wide meritorious service award and two General Counsel outstanding achievement awards.