New Jersey Noir
New Jersey Noir
By Joyce Carol Oates (Editor)
Akashic Books, Hardcover, 9781617750342, 274pp.
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
From the introduction by Joyce Carol Oates:
New Jersey --"The Garden State"--our fifth smallest state, with only Hawaii, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island below it in land mass, yet it's the state containing the "most murderous" American city (Camden) and the state generally conceded to be, square mile per square mile, the most densely politically corrupt. (Louisiana has been, by tradition, the most corrupt of all U.S. states, but in recent years Illinois has been closing the lead.) Atlantic City, Jersey City, Hackensack, Hoboken, Secaucus, Newark, Camden (three recent Camden mayors have been jailed for corruption)--in these cities as in others corruption isn't aberrant but rather a way of (political) life . . .
Sitting between the great cities of New York and Philadelphia, New Jersey has been by tradition a heavily "organized" Mafia state, as it was at one time a northern outpost of the Ku Klux Klan, with a concentration of members in Trenton, Camden, Monmouth County, and South Jersey . . . In such ways, the most civilized and "decent" among us find that we are complicit with the most brutal murderers. We enter into literally unspeakable alliances--of which we dare not speak except through the obliquities and indirections of fiction, poetry, and visual art of the sort gathered here in "New Jersey Noir."
"Oates's introduction to Akashic's noir volume dedicated to the Garden State, with its evocative definition of the genre, is alone worth the price of the book . . . Poems by C.K. Williams, Paul Muldoon, and others--plus photos by Gerald Slota--enhance this distinguished entry."
"It was inevitable that this fine noir series would reach New Jersey. It took longer than some readers might have wanted, but, oh boy, was it worth the wait . . . More than most of the entries in the series, this volume is about mood and atmosphere more than it is about plot and character . . . It should go without saying that regular readers of the noir series will seek this one out, but beyond that, the book also serves as a very good introduction to what is a popular but often misunderstood term and style of writing."
--Booklist, Starred Review
"A lovingly collected assortment of tales and poems that range from the disturbing to the darkly humorous."