ISBN 978-1-956005-18-9 272 pages $20.00
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“But there are other things, aren’t there?”
“Voices. Sometimes I say things out loud, kind of to myself, and they don’t make any sense and I don’t feel like I really said them.”
“Are you scared?”
Edward lives in Brooklyn not far from the narrowest part of the Hudson, across from Staten Island. Things happen to him all the time that he can’t understand. In the school auditorium singing Silver Bells, Christmas, he faints and travels across the river to another place, not Staten Island, where everything seems drawn and flat—the fluttery, papery world of the unsuccessfully dead. When Edward’s mother dies suddenly of a stroke, his seizures become more intense. Mrs. Parenti shows up at their house to explain to Edward’s father that he may well have a gift which she could help develop through her séances held in a mysterious townhouse Edward fears but is keenly interested in. Edward’s father, bereaving, isn’t.
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.