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New Jersey Noir

by Joyce Carol Oates (Editor)

Other authors: Robert Arellano (Contributor), Richard Burgin (Contributor), Michael Carroll (Contributor), Jonathan Safran Foer (Contributor), Jeffrey Ford (Contributor)15 more, Sheila Kohler (Contributor), Barry N. Malzberg (Contributor), Lou Manfredo (Contributor), Bradford Morrow (Contributor), Paul Muldoon (Contributor), Alicia Ostriker (Contributor), Robert Pinsky (Contributor), Bill Pronzini (Contributor), SJ Rozan (Contributor), Jonathan Santlofer (Contributor), Hirsh Sawhney (Contributor), SA Solomon (Contributor), Gerald Stern (Contributor), Edmund White (Contributor), CK Williams (Contributor)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
472427,568 (2.83)4
"Oates's introduction to Akashic's noir volume dedicated to the Garden State, with its evocative definition of the genre, is alone worth the price of the book . . . Poems by C.K. Williams, Paul Muldoon, and others--plus photos by Gerald Slota--enhance this distinguished entry." --Publishers Weekly "It was inevitable that this fine noir series would reach New Jersey. It took longer than some readers might have wanted, but, oh boy, was it worth the wait . . . More than most of the entries in the series, this volume is about mood and atmosphere more than it is about plot and character . . . It should go without saying that regular readers of the noir series will seek this one out, but beyond that, the book also serves as a very good introduction to what is a popular but often misunderstood term and style of writing." --Booklist, Starred Review "A lovingly collected assortment of tales and poems that range from the disturbing to the darkly humorous." --Shelf Awareness Featuring brand-new stories (and a few poems) by: Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Safran Foer, Robert Pinsky, Edmund White & Michael Carroll, Richard Burgin, Paul Muldoon, Sheila Kohler, C.K. Williams, Gerald Stern, Lou Manfredo, S.A. Solomon, Bradford Morrow, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeffrey Ford, S.J. Rozan, Barry N. Malzberg & Bill Pronzini, Hirsh Sawhney, and Robert Arellano. From the introduction by Joyce Carol Oates: ". . . The most civilized and 'decent' among us find that we are complicit with the most brutal murderers. We enter into literally unspeakable alliances--of which we dare not speak except through the obliquities and indirections of fiction, poetry, and visual art of the sort gathered here inNew Jersey Noir."… (more)
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An anthology of dark-themed stories (as well as a few poems) set in various parts of New Jersey, from the manicured campus of Princeton to the desperate slums of Camden.

This is actually one of a long-running series of "noir" collections set in different cities, states, and regions. I'd previously read USA Noir, a compilation of some of the best stories from the installments set in the United States, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, so I figured I'd check out one of the others. Sadly, there isn't one for my home state of New Mexico -- which seems like a real oversight! -- so I settled for the New Jersey one, since that's where I spent most of my childhood.

Unsurprisingly, the quality of the stories in this one is a lot more variable than those in the best-of collection. The best of them are very good indeed -- I was particularly impressed by Bradford Morrow's "The Enigma of Grover's Mill" -- while others just kind of left me cold. I'm also left slightly bemused by how many writers seem to have equated "noir" with "characters who smoke immense quantities of pot." ( )
  bragan | Jun 14, 2018 |
Overall quite unremarkable, with rather disappointing poetry and stories that only achieved importance through an upsettingly humanistic bleakness. Some of the stories held promise - "The Enigma of Grover's Mill", by Bradford Morrow, with an interesting take on insanity and Orson Wells' broadcast of "The War of the Worlds", or Jonathan Safran Foer's "Too Near Real", which contained the brilliant line "We are happy with the fake, and happy with the real, but the near real - the too near real - unnerves us." - but for the most part, none of them lived up to their potential, either feeling stretched thin or merely incomplete.

The sole exception, and indeed the sole reason to read any part of this volume, was the brilliant "New Day Newark" by S.J. Rozan, which features the trope of an awesome little old lady taking matters into her own hands, and using a sharp tongue and clever wit to engineer the fall of two drug gangs who threaten her neighborhood. Incidentally, that's on pages 61-75; go find it in the library, read that story, and put it back on the shelf. ( )
1 vote themythicalcodfish | Jul 12, 2012 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Oates, Joyce CarolEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arellano, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgin, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carroll, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foer, Jonathan SafranContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ford, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kohler, SheilaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Malzberg, Barry N.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Manfredo, LouContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morrow, BradfordContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Muldoon, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ostriker, AliciaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pinsky, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pronzini, BillContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rozan, SJContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Santlofer, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sawhney, HirshContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Solomon, SAContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stern, GeraldContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
White, EdmundContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, CKContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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"Oates's introduction to Akashic's noir volume dedicated to the Garden State, with its evocative definition of the genre, is alone worth the price of the book . . . Poems by C.K. Williams, Paul Muldoon, and others--plus photos by Gerald Slota--enhance this distinguished entry." --Publishers Weekly "It was inevitable that this fine noir series would reach New Jersey. It took longer than some readers might have wanted, but, oh boy, was it worth the wait . . . More than most of the entries in the series, this volume is about mood and atmosphere more than it is about plot and character . . . It should go without saying that regular readers of the noir series will seek this one out, but beyond that, the book also serves as a very good introduction to what is a popular but often misunderstood term and style of writing." --Booklist, Starred Review "A lovingly collected assortment of tales and poems that range from the disturbing to the darkly humorous." --Shelf Awareness Featuring brand-new stories (and a few poems) by: Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Safran Foer, Robert Pinsky, Edmund White & Michael Carroll, Richard Burgin, Paul Muldoon, Sheila Kohler, C.K. Williams, Gerald Stern, Lou Manfredo, S.A. Solomon, Bradford Morrow, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeffrey Ford, S.J. Rozan, Barry N. Malzberg & Bill Pronzini, Hirsh Sawhney, and Robert Arellano. From the introduction by Joyce Carol Oates: ". . . The most civilized and 'decent' among us find that we are complicit with the most brutal murderers. We enter into literally unspeakable alliances--of which we dare not speak except through the obliquities and indirections of fiction, poetry, and visual art of the sort gathered here inNew Jersey Noir."

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Book description
Contents: Part I: Inner-City New Jersey.
Live for Today (University Heights, Newark) / by S.A. Solomon --
Soul Anatomy (Whitman Park, Camden) / by Lou Manfredo --
New Day Newark (Central Ward, Newark) / by S.J. Rozan --
Newark Black: 1940-1954 (Vailsburg, Newark) / by C.K. Williams

Part II: Romance & Nostalgia.
Lola (Hoboken) / by Jonathan Santlofer --
The Enigma of Grover’s Mill (Grover’s Mill) / by Bradford Morrow --
Broken Glass (Mickle Street, Camden) / by Gerald Stern --
Wunderlich (Montclair) / by Sheila Kohler --
Atlantis (Atlantic City) / by Richard Burgin --
August: Feeding Frenzy (Jersey Shore) / by Alicia Ostriker

Part III: Commerce & Retribution.
A Bag for Nicholas (Jersey City) / by Hirsh Sawhney --
Glass Eels” by Jeffrey Ford (Dividing Creek) --
Meadowlands Spike (Rutherford) / by Barry N. Malzberg & Bill Pronzini --
Kettle Run (Cherry Hill) / by Robert Arellano --
Noir, NJ (Paramus) / by Paul Muldoon

Part IV: Garden State Underground.
Too Near Real (Princeton) / by Jonathan Safran Foer --
Excavation (Asbury Park) / by Edmund White & Michael Carroll --
Long Branch Underground (Long Branch) / by Robert Pinsky --
Run Kiss Daddy (Kittatinny Mountains) / by Joyce Carol Oates
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