Saturday, December 10, 2016

A post about Angel Colón's "No Happy Endings" that includes just one ejaculation/masturbation joke

Angel Colón reads.
Photos by Peter Rozovsky
Good fun was had by all at Friday's launch of Angel Colón's new novel at Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan. We also had at least as good a time afterward, the novel's title to the contrary. The book is called No Happy Endings, a reference to the (planned) sperm-bank heist that drives the plot. Our evening, on the other hand, ended in good fellowship, crepes, and wine in the West Village.

Look closely. That vessel next to
the book is not a gift-set jam jar.
Wine was served at the launch in plastic specimen cups (Angel got them cheap), and the evening included its share of ejaculation jokes, but I was more impressed by the author's distinguishing the novel's very human protagonist from the other lead character he writes about, the ex-IRA hard man Blacky Jaguar. "Blacky's a cartoon," Colón said.

Fantine Park, on the other hand, the new book's protagonist, is an epigone: She's not nearly the safe cracker her mother was. And her relationship with her father (said Colón and some attendees who had read the book) is a thread running through the novel and one reason I'm looking forward to reading it. Farce and character is not always an easy combination to, er, pull off, and I'll be eager to see how Colón does it here.

From left: Scott Adlerberg, Angel Colón, Dave White
Later a gang that included Colón; his wife, Jeanette; Scott Adlerberg; Suzanne Solomon; Jen Conley; and me repaired to Shade Bar for dinner, drinks, and conversation that ranged over Shakespeare, politics, crime writing, the teaching of history, and (says Jen) Nine Inch Nails and Donald Trump. The most excellent bartender, Laurie, remembered my name, Todd Robinson showed up, and I realized that I dig hanging out with gregarious, intelligent, opinionated New Yorkers. I was feeling so expansive that I passed up the 10-year aged tawny port and bought myself a glass of the 20-year instead.

For me, though, the evening's most trenchant observation came from Scott as we rode the subway from the bookstore to the bar. True crime, said this crime writer, is depressing in its brutality, banality, and stupidity, if I recall his words correctly. Crime fiction, he said, avoids this because it is highly stylized. That is the most thought-provoking observation I've heard about crime fiction in quite some time, and I'll be thinking about it and quoting it.  So thanks, Scott.

© Peter Rozovsky 2016

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Blogger Dana King said...

That Adlerberg is a pretty sharp cookie. Led a hell of a panel at Bouchercon and his blog posts are always worth a read.

(So are yours, Peter. I'm too much of a pussy to risk offending you.)

December 11, 2016  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Only a loser would call himself a pussy.

Scott is sharp, all right. He had some interesting criticism of how history is taught in schools. I may add them to this post or even spin them off into a separate one,

December 11, 2016  
Blogger Dana King said...

Please do. I'd like to see what he says.

December 11, 2016  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

As I recall, the criticisms were that teaching of history has rejected chronology in favor of theme, and that in teaching the bad side of what great people--OK, men--did, current practice leaves students clueless about the good things they did. I hope I'm citing Scott reasonably close to correctly on this.

I replied to the latter point that we tend to forget that the Founding Fathers were not philosophers, but rather practical men trying to figure out how to make a country work. There are alternatives, in other words, to considering these men demigods on the one hand and racist oppressors on the other. That's the way the conversation went. It was a tremendously enjoyable evening.

December 11, 2016  

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