(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in the New York Times, 2/25; via Pam Green.)

The dim and cavernous hotel lobby is, as one of its two inhabitants puts it, “about as homey as the morgue.” But for Erie Smith, the fidgety man who comes up with that desolate description, this morgue is the only place to be.

Outside there’s the brusque and bustling city, New York in 1928, where unfriendly creditors wait in ambush for him; upstairs, in Room 492, there’s the silence of the bed, where unwelcome thoughts can echo until they deafen. But here, amid the shadows of a deserted antechamber, a guy like Erie can pretend — at least fleetingly — that his life counts for something.

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