Criminals is a brilliant and lovingly told story of one family’s progress through the years, from Robert’s childhood in NYC in the 1970s to his father’s death in 2002.
The Siegels of New York are a singular creation—quirky, idealistic, shaped in large part by Siegel’s father, a lovable, impossible man of gargantuan appetites and sloppy ethics, a criminal defense attorney who loved his drug dealing clients a little too much and went to prison as a result. Siegel’s mother decided to pour her energies into making her children refined, art loving mavens of fine dining in international settings—all the things that his father was not, with Robert as her most targeted ally. Once out of prison, Siegel’s father struggled with depression, attempting to re-enter legal practice, with age and finances nipping at their heels. Robert, as a son and later as an author, attempts to put all of these pieces together to make a coherent shape of family before realizing perhaps no such thing exists.
What is right, what is wrong? How does one family join the greater world of normal people beyond the demimonde of drug dealers, bikers, schemers, rock musicians and artists that swirled around them? Criminals explores those questions without easy judgements, creating a prism of an eccentric collection of characters bound together as the mysterious tribe of family.