Perpetual Care and Other Storiesby James Nolan
This collection of short stories, which was awarded the 2007 Jefferson Press prize for Best New Voice in Fiction, explores the milieu of what post-Katrina New Orleans residents have come to call "the isle of denial"a resilient and intact sliver of civilization surrounded by a sea of devastation. Evoking the comic grotesque legacy of Flannery O'Connor and John
This collection of short stories, which was awarded the 2007 Jefferson Press prize for Best New Voice in Fiction, explores the milieu of what post-Katrina New Orleans residents have come to call "the isle of denial"a resilient and intact sliver of civilization surrounded by a sea of devastation. Evoking the comic grotesque legacy of Flannery O'Connor and John Kennedy Toole, these pieces inhabit a variety of piquant souls, including a Creole spinster, a transvestite plumber, a gambler who makes prosthetic eyes, a food critic who winds up with a mouthful of his best friend's ashes, and a grief-stricken young woman who sneaks a clock radio into her boyfriend's casket. They share a common trait of perverse denial in the face of historic or private defeat. Each story provides a window into aspects of the city and its’ captivating neighborhoods while tendering startling revelations on elemental themes of death, sex, and restoration.
- Jefferson Press, LLC
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
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Meet the Author
James Nolan is a poet and regular contributor to Boulevard, and his work has appeared in The Georgia Review, The North American Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, The Washington Post, and other publications. He is the author of two poetry collections, What Moves Is Not the Wind and Why I Live in the Forest, and translator of the poetry of Pablo Neruda and Jaime Gil de Biedma. He currently directs the Loyola UniversityNew Orleans Writing Institute. He lives in New Orleans.
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JAMES NOLAN is a comedic genius. We all love comedy, but few can do it. I believe comedy is something you are born with and that it cannot be learned. The great performance comedians of the 20th century you can count on your fingers and toes: Allen, Ball, Bruce, Burnett, Carlin, Cosby, DeGeneres, Gleason, Goldberg, Hope, Jessel, Murray, Nichols & May, Pryor, Radner, Williams--and I¿m about running out, with three digits still left. Among writers, the humorists number more, but there are not many. James Nolan is one of the best. His humor is dry, dark, acerbic, subtle, but occasionally Rabelaisian: Aleichem, Almond, Allen, Baggott, Beckman, Bombeck, Franklin, Montaigne, Thurber, Twain, Vidal, Vonnegut, Wilde, Wisniewski, and Wylie come to mind. Nolan is a Southerner, but not a ¿downhome¿ type. Nolan is sophisticated, well-educated and widely traveled. So he has a context to put his Southern characters in, and a rich, rich one it is! In PERPETUAL CARE, he moves from city to city with ease, hunting down great stories and delivering them with wit, aplomb and savoir faire to leave you breathless. The title story, 'Perpetual Care,' is the funniest one. The situation--I¿m not giving it up here--will absolutely blow you away. Southerners, and I am one, can carry prejudice and discrimination against people, places and things not Southern to ridiculous extremes, and Nolan pokes hilarious fun at all of it. But this is not to say that PERPETUAL CARE is all comedy far from it. Below the surface, Nolan lets us know that prejudice is a serious matter, that moms and teenagers deserve to be taken seriously as human beings, and that San Francisco is. . .well, let Nolan tell you! James Nolan¿s deep love and compassion for the zany characters he portrays is always apparent, heightened by the contrast between his true feelings and the shallowness of widespread attitudes he dramatizes for us in his lively and resonant fiction. His writing is the greatest, his incredible sentences like multi-faceted jewels polished to a high sheen: I challenge you to find English sentences more perfectly and movingly crafted than James Nolan¿s. Read these stories. Savor every word. Enjoy!
The stories did not seem authentic to me as a life long resident of New Orleans, (though I relocated several years ago). The writing is unoriginal and the characters are not authentic at all. I find it hard to believe the author really is from the city.
It is impossible to write a review for someone as talented as James Nolan. It would be like someone trying to dance like Fred Astaire, in order to show others how Fred Astaire danced. James Nolan is every bit as talented as any writer I was required to read in high school or college. The book as an extra gift is almost always very funny and heartwrenching at times. Boredom and mediocrity don't live here. I related to the stories on many different levels of understanding. I know I am tired of buying a best seller and not being able to get through it due to just plain bad writing. This will NOT happen here. Anyone who wants to write could read it just to see how it is done. As is the case of a really great book, you can't put it down. It may be three o'clock in the morning, but you will just have to read one more story.