Long Island Noir Paperback – Apr 30 2012
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About the Author
Kaylie Jones: Kaylie Jones moved to Sagaponack in 1975, where her family continued to live for more than thirty years. She is the author of five novels, including A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, and the memoir Lies My Mother Never Told Me. She teaches in the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton, and in the Wilkes University low-residency MFA program in professional writing.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The stories are categorized into four parts: Family Values, Hitting it Big, Love and Other Horrors, and American Dreamers. In putting this collection together Jones has done a fine job of utilizing this setting while preying on our hopes and dreams. Her own story "Home Invasion" deals with a teenage girl who turns 17 and needs to defend herself against a predator. Her father, a WWII vet, is dying and the urgency to find protection grows too real. But what is more haunting than her fear is what she actual does to show what she will do to protect herself.
Charles Salzberg intertwines a tale of the past in "A Starr Burns Bright" to showcase how we need the fascination of past mysteries to find our purpose in the present. Tim McLoughlin's "Seven Eleven" is about a gambler chasing the big win, allowing all things to be a sign to strike big, even in the midst of self destruction.
Jules Feiffer adds the element of a graphic novel in the mix with "Boob Noir". JZ Holden's "Summer Love" is a personal favorite of mine in this collection as she describes a woman lost to the control of a man, knowing it's no good for her, but not being able to stop. Sheila Kohler's "Terror" scares us with the notion of losing a child.
There are more wonderful stories by Nick Mamatas and Tim Tomlinson and others. It's a unique collection in the sense that the authors (17 in all) are so different in style and voice that each story feels fresh and rewarding with an independent purpose, yet, creates unity using the noir genre. These characters are desperate and lost, but each author chooses to show it in his or her own way, which adds to the richness of the book as it moves from, subtle and literary to genre bent and fast paced. Since the stories are so different in style, you might not like every single one, but it's definitely worth the read to discover which ones you do like. I guarantee those stories will stay with you long after you close the book.
I haven't read any of the other Noir collections, but after reading LONG ISLAND NOIR I'm begging to see what the other locations have to offer. This is a strong collection and I can only imagine how much more I would have enjoyed it if I'd ever actually been to Long Island. This is a must read for any fan of short fiction.
For readers new to noir, one of the best descriptions of noir fiction is explained by Otto Penzler in his post: "Noir Fiction is About Losers, Not Private Eyes" [...]. My favorite part: "Pretty much everyone in a noir story (or film) is driven by greed, lust, jealousy or alienation, a path that inevitably sucks them into a downward spiral from which they cannot escape. They couldn't find the exit from their personal highway to hell if flashing neon lights pointed to a town named Hope. It is their own lack of morality that blindly drives them to ruin."
Anyone heading for the beaches this summer should get a copy of LONG ISLAND NOIR ~ a perfect beach read! Native and displaced Long Islanders will enjoy reading stories that take place in familiar locations. Thirteen stories take place in Suffolk, while four occur in Nassau (Garden City: "Anjali's America" by Dr. Qanta Ahmed; Long Beach: "A Starr Burns Bright" by Charles Salzberg; Wantagh: "Seven-Eleven" by Tim O'Loughlin; and Great Neck: "Past President" by Sarah Weinman).
Editor (and contributor) Jones has done a good job selecting the stories; they represent quite an assortment of ways people's lives can go out of control. Not all the characters are on a downward slide because of their own actions; many are in their dark situations simply by bad luck. The variety of situations keeps the book interesting- none of the 17 stories is like the others despite being on the same theme. If you like your fiction down to earth and raw, this books for you.
My favorite among the lot is Anjali's America, by Quanta Ahmed, MD. It is written with such realism that it is easy to forget you are reading fiction. If you get the book for no other reason than to read this short story, you will have invested wisely.
She tells of a young Anjali Osmaan, who is rushed to the emergency room with a complete uterine rupture. There is a frantic fight among the medical staff to save the woman's life. She hovers very close to death, and almost miraculously pulls through.
Like so many who come to the United States from a culture where women are treated as something less than full human beings, Anjali struggles to cope. The story ends well, with Anjali finally discovering her America. You have to read the story to find out how.
Other stories in the book contain very imaginative conceptual ideas. The stories are set in various Long Island communities. The tales are all based on totally different concepts. As a usual reader of non-fiction, this was off the beaten path for me. I believe that truth is usually little easier to swallow. But every one of these stories reflects what could just as easily be truth in its own way. It's a great compilation.