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New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the Cityby Andrei Codrescu
Synopses & Reviews
For two decades NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu has been living in and writing about his adopted city, where, as he puts it, the official language is dreams. How apt that a refugee born in Transylvania found his home in a place where vampires roam the streets and voodoo queens live around the corner; where cemeteries are the most popular picnic spots, the ghosts of poets, prostitutes, and pirates are palpable, and in the French Quarter, no one ever sleeps.
Codrescu's essays have been called "satirical gems," "subversive," "sardonic and stunning," "funny," "gonzo," "wittily poignant," and "perverse"—here is a writer who perfectly mirrors the wild, voluptuous, bohemian character of New Orleans itself. This retrospective follows him from newcomer to near native: first seduced by the lush banana trees in his backyard and the sensual aroma of coffee at the café down the block, Codrescu soon becomes a Window Gang regular at the infamous bar Molly's on Decatur, does a stint as King of Krewe de Vieux Carré at Mardi Gras, befriends artists, musicians, and eccentrics, and exposes the citys underbelly of corruption, warning presciently about the lack of planning for floods in a city high on its own insouciance. Alas, as we all now know, Paradise is lost.
New Orleans, Mon Amour is an epic love song, a clear-eyed elegy, a cultural celebration, and a thank-you note to New Orleans in its Golden Age.
"In this lovely collection of very short essays (many two pages long), gravelly voiced NPR commentator Codrescu sketches finely honed portraits of a fabled city and its equally fabled inhabitants. The author, who has called the Big Easy home for two decades, shows how, like some gigantic bohemian magnet, New Orleans attracts some of the world's most talented, self-indulgent freaks. Codrescu finds himself quite at home there. He expertly weaves pages of New Orleans history through his stories of personal discovery and debauchery. The last few essays, written post-Katrina, radiate simultaneous anger and clarity. Full of pride and defensiveness, Codrescu closes the collection ruminating about rebuilding the city and his longing to return to its rhythms and eccentricities. Despite Codrescu's frustrations, this collection is, in the end, gentle and sweet. Readers can't help coming away from reading it without an abiding hope in the ability of ordinary people, under the worst circumstances, rising to whatever challenges they face." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Andrei Codrescu's commentaries are heard on National Public Radio; his travel film, Road Scholar, has won a Peabody Award; his Web journal, Exquisite Corpse, has a devoted following; and his books include poetry, essays, and travelogues, as well as the bestselling novels The Blood Countessand Messiah.He teaches English at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
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