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Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.

New Jersey Noir (Akashic Noir)

New Jersey Noir - Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Safran Foer, Lou Manfredo, S.A. Solomon, Bradford Morrow, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeffrey Ford, S.J. Rozan, Barry N. Malzberg, Bill Pronzini, Hirsh Sawhney, Robert Arellano, Robert Pinsky, Edmund White, Richard Burgin, Paul Muldoon, Sheila Kohler, Part of Akashic's "Noir" series (there are dozens of them, ranging from Delhi to Dublin), this one was edited by Joyce Carol Oates. As such, it is Oates' particular bouquet of flowers, which may explain why it's a little top heavy with Princeton University Creative Writing teachers, and why Jonathan Safran Foer is included, since he was her student. Like all bouquet's some flowers may appeal more than others, and certainly the collection isn't uniformly brilliant. There are, however, some real standouts --, and Foer's "Too Near Real" is one of them, as is "Soul Anatomy" by Lou Manfredo,, Richard Bergen's "Atlantis, and "Excavation", written by Edmund White & Michael Caroll. There is also a fine poem by C.K. Williams' -- "Newark Black: 1940-1954". I must say, though, I was surprised there was only one piece of writing by a writer of color -- Hirsh Sawhney, who wrote "A Bag for Nicholas" and was the editor for "Delhi Noir." Perhaps no one of color submitted work, or they work they submitted didn't make the cut, but I couldn't help wondering where Amiri Baraka was, or Junot Diaz or Chang-Rae Lee . . . but it seems to me there must be more non-Caucasian writers out there in Trenton and Camden and Newark . . . But that's a political comment, and perhaps it's an unfair one. All in all this is a solid collection, and will bring enjoyment not only to those of us who live in New Jersey, but to fans of 'noir' everywhere.