ISBN 978-1-956005-19-6 338 pages $20.00
He put the phone down and his feet up, on the ottoman. He’d have to dig around and find the old luger Timmy Fallon had given him after the war. Tom hadn’t collected souvenirs—he was a reporter for Christ’s sake—he hadn’t thought he deserved souvenirs. But Timmy had collected, and he’d given him one of the two Lugers he’d had in his bag when they got home.
Tom Cahill thinks the two voices on the harassing phone calls he’s been receiving are actually one person. But they are indeed different predators: Eddie Branagan, telling him what he’s going to do to his daughter Laura; Phil LaPorta, painting a picture of how great a man Tom, a newspaper columnist, really is. Because the novel cuts back and forth between otherwise total strangers suspense is rendered all the more palpable; and the place, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, shows its many sides in and out of our collective American past. Beetlebomb is a pan through mundane time and place, written in opposition to the otherwise unspoken sources of human shame and brutality.
The Bay Ridge Novels of Larry Kearney weave their intensely enjoyable readability through a nostalgia premised in ’50s early ‘60s New York re-encountering the existentialism and rawness of perennial youth. As in his influential and much-lauded poetry, Kearney maintains an imaginative correspondence to his early citizenry, carried through fire and crime, straight forward out of the old American century. These unforgettably thrilling tales of precocious young lives thrown to their overlapping fates animate as yet untested characters—surprisingly adaptable and resilient—and anxiously pits them against the foreshadows of cosmopolitan struggle, the brutal claims of fallen obsession, last-gasp redemption, and ultimately, the possibility and poignancy of collective forgiveness.
Larry Kearney was Born in Brooklyn, New York. He moved to San Francisco in ’64 and became involved with the group of poets centered around North Beach and generally and inaccurately described as the San Francisco Renaissance—Spicer, MacInnis, Duerden, Duncan, Brautigan, Stanley, Blaser, Kyger, Meltzer, Hirschman et al. His closest friends in poetry were Jack Spicer and Richard Duerden, and Spicer’s insistence on being willing to, and capable of, saying what the poem wants to say when it wants to say it, endures for him as a working definition—poetry as the whole of the real—the seen and unseen, heard and unheard—the voices of the haunted living and the unsuccessfully dead. He currently lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Mouron-sur-Yonne, France.