From: Mark D. Nevins (nevins_mark@yahoo.com)
Date: 24 Sep 2009

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    Bob V., nice post.

    As a New Englander in exile in Manhattan for the last 20 years or so, my actual interest in Newark is pretty limited. I am, however, interested in the "concept" of Newark as a case study in American urban history and sociology, much as Baltimore has been for THE WIRE. I've met mayor Cory Booker a few times, including a long dinner party a few years ago, and his challenges are fascinating, as is his biography. So I'll be checking out BRICK CITY, and I'd love to read any reviews of the show from Rara-Avians as well.

    One half of "Richard Hilary," Richard Rodino, was my college professor and advisor, and a huge influence on my life. Tragically, he died (very young) just a few years after I graduated, I'm going to say from memory he paqssed around '89. He was always interested in detective fiction (he taught a course in it as early as 1982), but sadly while I was in college I had absolutely no interest in crime fiction so missed the opportunity to talk with him about his novels and his views on the genre generally--which is a shame.

    (I did study 18th-century literature and the history of science with him, as well as a year of freshman composition, and he fueled many a summer reading list for me. Rodino was also, notably, the first person to convince Robert Pirsig, author of ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE, to return to the US to talk about his work, and was probably one of the first people to publish scholarly articles on that book. I should also note that Rodino seemed not to need sleep: among other things, he also adpoted a child, ran the college's honors program, and personally tended a farm which supplied most of his family's food, and which yielded grapes from which he made his own wine!)

    I've gone back and re-read the "Easy" Barnes novels (I think Hilary's "Easy" pre-dated Mosely's), and they are good fun. I don't rate them on the top tier, but they're readable, and do play around with some of the PI genre's conventions. I wonder if other Avians have read any of them and have opinions?

    Re-reading the post above, I guess I probably *should* be more interested in Newark. Maybe I need to ride the path over this Fall and check it out.

    Best, Mark Nevins

    Fans of the Wire might be interested in Brick City, a documentary series about Newark NJ being shown this week on the Sundance Channel. I'm not suggesting it's anywhere near as good as the Wire, but what is? And full disclosure: I work in Newark, so I'm interested in the subject.

    By any definition, Newark is a hardboiled town. I have yet to read Nathan Heard's or "Richard Hilary"'s books set in Newark, but I'll get there eventually. But this place needs its own Pelecanos-type local. The material is there in the Star Ledger everyday.

    Bob V in NJ

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