The title: “Written in the Sand” means exactly that. The lives of people who transgressed through Atlantic City were just written in the sand. The waves come and go like time and wash away traces of people’s lives.
This tapestry is a mix of different characters, different lives, from these sands of time long ago – all intermixed as life really is. This is a montage of transgressing lives through Atlantic City’s past one hundred and fifty years. The island’s history comes grinding to a halt from inner-city gentrification in the 1960s and 1970s. Then to another boom of casinos, and the new action transforms Atlantic City once again.
The story culminates in the 1980s when the main character, Ray, has the audacity to find and loot mob money. The chase is on from Atlantic City to Philadelphia, New York City, and back to Atlantic City. Wherein the end brings ruin to the Atlantic City Mafia, while Ray, triumphant, must find his way again. All throughout this story many strange characters and sub-plots evolve like stage settings. The city is the plot, and even at the end, its destiny whispers unknown, same as America. As Ray’s situation is resolved at the end, Atlantic City just rides on within its own quirky American dream gone wrong.
There is also a man growing old, Sam Wenski, backtracking toward his young dreams; as Ray’s young man’s fight mirrors each other from alternate decades. Hurricanes, bad weather, dive bars, the Boardwalk, and parades all begin to melt into this city of dreams.
Its genre is a classic American novel and a sweeping portrait of this island city. From the island’s origination in the 1860s to the turn of this century, the story is filled with searching, grasping, and a loss of the American Dream. The carnival atmosphere, political corruption, mobsters, and everyday people all become intertwined in this time machine. These ruminations of different lives become a tapestry where chance, truth, and fiction are one.