Even though Ani Katz left her hometown of Bay Shore after graduating from high school, she knew that Long Island was the perfect setting for her debut novel, “A Good Man.“
A 2004 graduate of Bay Shore High School, Katz left home to follow her dream of moving to the big city. “While I was growing up, I never realized how important Long Island was,” she told GreaterBayShore. “The end goal was the city.”
Now residing in Brooklyn and working as an elementary school teacher, Katz decided to write and publish her first novel with Penguin Random House. She describes “A Good Man” as a psychological thriller that explores toxic masculinity, gender violence and the dangers of outdated gender norms surrounding family and marriage.
“The book isn’t autobiographical,” she said. “It’s loosely based on a tragedy in the extended family of a close friend decades ago. It was troubling and really interesting to see how the family dealt with it.”
“A Good Man” is the perspective of Thomas Martin, a man who tries to always do the right thing and sees himself as a protector, provider and patriarch. As the novel unfolds, his world unravels.
“Part of the reason I set it on Long Island is that as a writer, you’re inclined to write what you know,” Katz said. “Long Island is also a symbol of this idyllic life — like you’ve made it.”
Martin lives a nice life on the North Shore with a job at an advertising firm in the city — something plenty of locals can relate to, the author points to.
And that suburban ideology made for a great setting.
“The town isn’t specified, but his childhood is set around the area of Bay Shore, East Islip — that amount of distance from the city… and then I set his adult life in the Huntington area on the North Shore, with some scenes at Robert Moses and Jones Beach.”
The 33-year-old said that it took her about a year to write and was officially released on Jan. 14. “I’m hoping to give the reader something to enjoy.”
“There could be more art made about contemporary Long Island,” Katz added. “It’s a place that deserve s to be reflected in literature, film and art.”
“A Good Man” is available for purchase online here.
Above photo of Ani Katz courtesy of Sara J. Winston. Below photo of the cover of Katz’s new book taken by Julianne Mosher