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Posted February 24, 2008
Rob Walker may use his day job as a New York Times Magazine Columnist to support himself, but with the publication of LETTERS FROM NEW ORLEANS he clearly steps into the arena of fine writers whose messages stand solidly on their own. This collection of shared letters via email does not come across as yet another Blog site, but instead reveals a writer of sensitivity of observation, calm excitement of discovery, and an artist who can enter a space apparently foreign to him and make it not only his experience but also that of his reader. This too short book covers a period of time when Walker moved to New Orleans and adapted to the idiosyncrasies of that magical city in daily exploration of its peculiar wonders. With his companion 'E' he attends a New Orleans church service (as the only white people present) and learns to appreciate the gospel singing, the attire and the unconditional love that pours from the congregation he dresses for Carnivale and participates in the traditions of bead throwing and costuming that have only been images in films and photos he takes us on a journey through the celebration of a New Orleans funeral - which is anything but morose - and teaches us about the 'cemeteries' of tombs above ground in this city below sea level he ponders on the traditions of firing guns into the sky to celebrate most any event he explores the famous 'St James Infirmary' of song fame, sharing the origins of the place and the myths and he mixes with the people in this city of poverty of pocketbook but wealth of mind. Reading Rob Walker could be experienced as a prelude (or postlude) to appreciating the art of Tennessee Williams and the Jazz Greats. His technique in writing is to keep it simple and observational, and in doing so he raises his writing to the level of poetry - succinct with themes and variations that always return us to the spirit of one of America's most treasured cities. Highly recommended reading. Grady HarpWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 25, 2010
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