Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tower

One advantage of a book cowritten by an Irish and a Jewish author is the enhanced possibility of good Irish and Jewish humor. The concision of this novel occasionally means both in the same scene:

"`Your father and books, don't get me started.'

"As if she needed an excuse. She was Jewish, she was born started. To say they were a poor match? Man, they were the worst marriage on the block and we had some beauties there. See the street on a Saturday night, after a ballgame and the brews had been sunk? Buckets of blood and recrimination.


"Did the cops come?

"Yeah, right.

"Most of the participants were cops.

"Mick neighborhood, what'd you expect?"
I'm just halfway through this short novel, but that's enough to note that it's hard, violent and funny without, however, making light of violence. It also has much to say about friendship and loyalty and, though it has the feel of an old-time gangster story, its setting is very much of our own globalized world ("Nick discovered he had a talent for boosting cars. He made Boyle and a lot of Third World bastards happy.").

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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30 Comments:

Blogger R. T. said...

FYI from R.T.
http://novelsandstories.blogspot.com/2009/12/consolidated-list-of-recommendations.html

December 19, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's pretty close to an ultimate shopping list. Thanks.

December 19, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

My wedding was at a Yiddish socialist commune in upstate New York. It was a nice collision of Mick and Jewish sensibilities.

This book sounds great. I havent read any RFC but I LOVE Mr Bruen!

December 19, 2009  
Anonymous solo said...

I guess when a good Jewish boy from Brooklyn named Cohen takes a good Irish name like Farrel it was only a matter of time before he ended up working with a real Irishman. It's good karma, man.
I see Reed's site declares that he was named after the B-movie actor Reed Hadley (born Reed Herring; I wonder why he changed his name).
Apparently, Reed had one of those rich bass voices that Hollywood loved to use as narrators.
They sure knew what they were doing. I still go week at the knees listening to the narrators on those old documentary style Hollywood crime films.
I think Stanley Kubrick's The Killing would only be half the film it is without that narrator (Art Gilmore, apparently).
According to IMDB, Reed ended his career narrating a 1969 nudie called The Fabulous Bastard From Chicago.
I suppose if you were feeling particularly irreverent that would make a good title for your current president. Although, given present circumstances, that title might be absent the adjective before too long.

December 19, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, when I first read the books Jason Starr wrote with Bruen for Hard Case Crime, I had a bit of fun trying to figure out which parts were Bruen's. I've done some of that here, but ethnic clues are scarce, since the character who narrates the passage I quoted has an Irish father and a Jewish mother.

December 19, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, the fall is always harder for political messiahs.

This Jewish-Irish thing reminds me of an old routine of Lenny Bruce's that included lines like "If you live in New York, even if you're Catholic, you're Jewish."

I'll have to ask Reed why that particular B-movie actor who wound up narrating a nudie? And who even knew that nudies had narrators?

December 19, 2009  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter
The old joke in Northern Ireland used to be that if someone trying to escape the sectarianism said 'I'm a Jew,' the question would be 'Yeah, but are you a Catholic Jew or a Protestan Jew?'

December 19, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Good god, that one packs a punch. I had not heard it before. Thanks.

Funny, you don't look Northern Irish.

December 19, 2009  
Anonymous solo said...

As we say in this part of the world I kick with the other foot or at least I would if wasn't a devout athiest
You really shouldn't be surprised that nudies had narrators, though. A lot of early porno was presented as educational. Here, we still have a nudity magazine that has the wonderful title of H&E: Health and Efficiency.

December 19, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're right. About nudies. I have seen smirking references to naturism and the like.

I like the idea of sidling up a woman in the bar and suggesting the she slip off with you for a bit of H&E.

December 19, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

the alternative punchline to that joke is "Man, I'm the luckiest Nazi in Belfast."

December 19, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mmm, is there a Big Book of Belfast Humour?

December 19, 2009  
Blogger seana said...

I think we're reading it right here, Peter.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It has a good first chapter, then. The Catholic Jew/Protestant Jew joke does what a good joke ought to do: It's funny, and boy, does it ever make its point.

If the joke is popular in Ireland, I wonder who enjoys it most.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger Dana King said...

"She was born started."

That's about as good a hook as I could ask for.

I "discovered" both Ken Bruen and RFC in the past year (yes, I really need to get out more), so this will have to go on the list.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger seana said...

Thanks for that list, by the way, R.T.. Of course, all I want to do now is sit around reading mystery novels, but tis not the season for sitting around, unfortunately.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana, that's a good hook, all right, the product of a born comedian or comedians, I'd say.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

'Tis the season for discharign family responsibilities, you mean?

When it's all over, you can so sit under a big tree and read a book. You have some big trees and maybe some big books, too.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger seana said...

Between family, friends and working retail, there is not much time for books for awhile. It's fun, though, mostly. Just hectic.

I sneak in a few pages here and there, though. It tides me over.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's right, Seana. I forgot that you work in the sector that drives the economy at this time of year. Did you know that some retailers report that they do up to 75 percent of their annual business in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas? This year is off to a sluggish start, but retailers are hopeful. I know that because I read it in the newspaper.

Try novellas and essays.

I do not always live up to my current v-word: mench

December 20, 2009  
Blogger seana said...

Yes, people have seemed to start shopping late this year. I think it may turn out okay for us in the end, but it's harder to do more in fewer days. Especially as illness has really taken it's toll on the staff this season.

I think this might make a good entry in the Big Book of Belfast Humor. Or at least the Big Book of Humorous Northern Irish Capers.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The sluggish-start-retailers-hopeful story is such a boringly pro forma part of my, I mean, of newspapers' coverage around this time of year.

I wonder where those NI criminals stash their tools of crime.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And they probably have to take extra care to be quiet when gouging out the side of a building with a massive piece of construction equipment. You know, in case anyone notices them.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger seana said...

The beauty is that they wouldn't have to stash them anywhere at all. And...no fingerprints!

December 20, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

But their choice of occupational implements militates against a quick getaway.

Hmm, it was a fictional character of Northern Irish descent who came up with another clever method for robing ATMs.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger seana said...

No, I believe that was a Dubliner, Peter. And when they talk about living by their wits, they apparently just mean they can run like hell.

What's up with Declan's column by the way? Did I miss something or is he just on sabbatical?

December 20, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, I'm forever getting fiction and reality mixed up. A fictional Dubliner (Sligo man, actually) as set down by a real Canadian whose alter ego is a fictional Canadian.

I know Declan (the real one) has taken a hiatus from fiction, but he kept up with the blog posts.

December 20, 2009  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Dec is taking a major time out to rethink the blog, fiction, the whole kit and kaboodle. He wasn't feeling the love from publishers or the public so he's hunkering down to figure out what his next move exactly is.

December 21, 2009  
Blogger seana said...

Thanks, Adrian. I knew he'd been talking about it but he seemed to stop rather abruptly. Hope the time out reinvigorates him.

December 21, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I knew he'd taken time out from fiction. But my own work has cut severely into my blog-reading in recent months, so it wasn't until Seana's comment that I realized Declan hadn't blogged for a few weeks.

December 21, 2009  

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