Last Thursday night, I licked my literary fingertips at the release of Richmond Noir at the New York Deli in Carytown. While a novelist has hundreds of pages to enthrall and intrigue readers, the short story writer has the unique challenge of crafting every sentence into something exquisite. When those superbly shaped lines were about our city of Richmond, the statues on Monument Avenue, the ghosts of Hollywood Cemetery, the shadows of Shockoe Bottom, and I all eavesdropped in.
In 2004, Brooklyn Noir was the first collection of beautifully startling short stories released, by local authors, on local settings. In fact two of its short stories, “When All This Was Bay Ridge" by Tim McLoughlin and "Case Closed" by Lou Manfredo, were selected for the Best American Short Stories collection of 2005.
The literary world took notice, and soon many cities followed Brooklyn’s lead. Chicago Noir, Baltimore Noir, Detroit Noir, Las Vegas Noir, New Orleans Noir, and so many others rose from the mystique of each city’s streets. The collections have crossed oceans and seas, including Dublin Noir, Paris Noir, and Havana Noir. For the full list of cities published and soon-to-be-published, click here: http://www.akashicbooks.com/noirseries.htm
Last Thursday night, the words draped the New York Deli with silence, as heads tilted to the side and clinking pint glasses hushed themselves in respect. The literary traditions of a city are usually immortalized through its past, but the Noir series exemplifies the literary greatness still present in the present.
I highly encourage you, no matter where you live, to check it out.