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[Free Audible] New Orleans NoirAuthor Julie Smith –

Like most topical collections, this collection of noir short stories set in New Orleans was inconsistent in quality The book is divided into pre Katrina and post Katrina sections, and I generally found the post Katrina stories to be the superior ones There are enough good stories here to make this book a worthwhile read. A wonderfully eerie peek into the many neighborhoods and lives of New Orleans.I had no idea what New Orleans Noir was other than a collection of short stories about my favorite adopted city And, it took me half of the book to realize the common theme running through each story as a friend pointed out the seemingly odd pattern of a dead body turning up in each I guess I thought it just sounded like New Orleans Perhaps that s the point.New Orleans Noir offers a dark glimpse of an all too common travesty found in the loss of life While some of the stories begin with such loss, others end with it, while yet for others it merely plays a background tune to the characters immediate lives.There was once a time when short stories bothered me as too terse Too insensitive to the wealth of information that could be shared on a page To the depth of stories, lives, tales that could be woven between the front cover and back This book helped to change that for me These vignettes are all powerful in their own right, dragging the reader from an uptown sleep over to the unlit street corner of the Bywater, and even across the river, stepping back two hundred years in the course of a dozen pages New Orleans Noir tantalizes from all angles and, while it may not be the best bedtime read for the light of heart, if you re not afraid to confront the muddy monsters of the Mississippi, then dive right in, because here they re waiting i really enjoyed this book who knows, maybe i would not have loved it as much without katrina, but katrina happened, ain t a thing i can do about it, unfortunately.noir, broadly defined is intrinsically linked to a deep if possibly controversial attachment to the city and its neighborhoods, so i think the format, of dividing the stories by neighborhoods, works well the city, as in many of the stories here, especially the post katrina ones, is a city that s going to seed at the same time, the characters love it they love it even when it lets them down they love it even when it s dangerous and tragic they love it with an unbreakable heart.i am someone who s quite in love with descriptions of seedy locales, both internal dives, clubs, brothels and external rundown hoods, industrial wastelands, etc , so that, too, spoke to me but i really, really liked the characters, which is another feature of the noir however scuzzy, however morally shady they are, however loserish, noir characters are characters you can t help but like they are good at heart they would do better if they just could they are down on their luck often they do the right thing only because they can t help doing otherwise this would be, for instance, jack in angola south, by ace atkins, a black yes cop who tries to hold it together, in spite of the utter breakdown of post katrina civilization people who looted a bottle of water i don t remember the details i m making this one up are in the same makeshift jail cells as people who shot and maimed in fact doesn t another story mention this the only thing that seems to work in post k N.O is the swift transport of apprehended criminals from the makeshift cells at the train station again, maybe not getting the details right to angola the fact is that jack does not hold it together, not really, because, frankly, it s mayhem out there but there s something tough and old worldly to his lone, watchful, dedicated patrolling, to his sleeping in hard chairs, to his wading in the deep city swamp to catch a shooter who turns out to be a dead kid.stories i really liked short version, to keep this post from being too long two stories brick houses by patty friedmann not exactly noir, but chilling and powerful i guess uptown in a nice part of town i guess this is about the ghosts that haunt the well off, the white people who live in nice houses and whose parents were killed in the holocaust because this is definitely a story about class.another story about class and, inevitably, race , but with a nice happy leftist social justice twist at the end loot by julie smith.i loved james nolan s open mike, partly because i really dug the narrator, partly because i loved reading about the french quarter, andthan partly imagine a large part because of the writing finally, i liked it for the moral debacle of the end we all do what we can no heroes in noir.barbara hambly s there shall your heart be also was a winner with me, too really really cool.maureen tan s muddy pond stuck with me, and so did christine wiltz s night taxi, because the bad guys get it at the end, and because the tension is awesome i could go on i m picking at random onethe closing story, marigny triangle, by eric overmyer, because of how it s written, loose and desperate and obsessive, and because it brings home how sometimes the world really, really sucks. These short stories about New Orleans focus on different neighborhoods and thus give the reader a flavor for the city There are also pre and post Katrina stories They are interesting and revealing but remind why short stories are really not my jam just as I think we are going to get into some meaty themes or details, the stories end Still the stories provided a good flavor for the people and places of New Orleans. I really looked forward to this Akashic collection, thinking that New Orleans would have some great noir, but I found it lackluster and disappointing overall. Another collection of terrific dark stories set in a city that has had lots of dark moments recently I ve read three books from this series and this was by far the best There are classic Big Easy settings, late night in the French Quarter, on the waterfront and down in the 9th Ward Then there are the stories in the wasteland after the Katrina And finally, there are stories of riding the storm out and some of the shadows that rose up out of the flood waters Thoroughly enjoyable, well crafted and atmospheric, these stories give a strong sense of place and a perspective on life before during and after Katrina Well worth a few hours if you are looking for a walk on the dark side in a town with lots of atmosphere even when times are good. By now, this series of Noir stories is getting close to 100 books This is the first I have read I was a little hesitant to pick it up, given that the idea of classic noir to me means noir writing from the classic days starting in the 1930s Some of the stories in this collection go much farther back, the first a very short story by Armand Lanusse from 1843.All of the stories take place in and around New Orleans there s even a crime map style illustration, showing the stories primary locations The working definition of noir is, as you might think from the reach back into the nineteenth century, broad Several of those early stories are particularly concerned with untenable racial relationships in old New Orleans lives that can t go forward, as in Grace King s The Little Convent Girl , because the structure of racial relationships close in around them to cripple them.That feeling of inevitable doom is often at the heart of noir stories, and I think that s the common element that draws these stories together They don t all share that hard beaten urban feel we associate with noir they aren t stories that take place in city bars at night They aren t all full of lives shaped by crimes that dig a whole the characters can t dig out of But they do have the background music of fate carrying the stories forward to endings that are unhappy but that draw our empathy.The book is divided into three sets of stories, by the dates of their writing The first four are those stories going back to the 1800s, including, along with the stories by Lanusse and Grace King, ones by Kate Chopin and O Henry.The second set goes from the 1940s through to the beginnings of contemporary noir in the late 1970s This also includes some authors whose fame is not necessarily noirish Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams are the authors of the first two of the five in this set.The last is contemporary noir, beginning with Ellen Gilchrist s 1978 story, Rich , and including well known current writers like James Lee Burke.The New Orleans feel in the stories is supplied by the neighborhoods, the bars and clubs, the peculiar racial history of New Orleans not the history framed by agricultural slavery but the complex structures of urban society that, so far as I know, are unique to New Orleans history and the music and cultural life of New Orleans It s a very different noir than the noir of New York City.I think the book works Like I said, I had some hesitations about it So long as you don t require your noir pure and pulpy, you re free to focus on the uniqueness of New Orleans life, and the very good writing in bite sized pieces by some great writers. New Orleans Has Always Had A Heart Of NoirBrand New Stories By Thomas Adcock, Ace Atkins, Patty Friedmann, David Fulmer, Barbara Hambly, Greg Herren, Laura Lippman, Tim McLoughlin, James Nolan, Ted O Brien, Eric Overmyer, Jeri Cain Rossi, Maureen Tan, Jervey Tervalon, Olympia Vernon, Christine Wiltz, Kalamu Ya Salaam, And Julie Smith, Who Also Edited The Collection I m not a big reader of short stories, but I will read anything about or set in New Orleans This post Katrina collection of short stories is wonderful All are good Some are better than others Several are memorable But one stands out Scared Rabbit by Tim McLoughlin is one of the best short stories I ve ever read It captures something authentic about New Orleans in a perfectly structured story that doesn t reveal its true punch until the end and then in a most unexpected but perfectly crafted way That story alone is worth obtaining New Orleans Noir Note There is also New Orleans Noir Classic, which is also on my reading list But they are different books. Read this for the New Orleans category in AWLB Challenge 2017, and really enjoyed it I m generally not a fan of short stories, but most of these were so good Definitely better than the New Jersey Noir volume in the same series Gives an especially good sense of the difficulties of post Katrina NOLA.