Prison Noir

Prison Noir

Book - 2014
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"These are stories that resonate with authenticity and verve and pain and truth."
Publisher: Brooklyn, NY : Akashic Books, 2014
ISBN: 9781617752391
Branch Call Number: FICTION Pri
Description: 254 pages : map ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Oates, Joyce Carol 1938-


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Nov 02, 2014

I ran across this book at work while I was shelving and I'm glad I did. It was a quick little weekend read that made my weekend really enjoyable. I will give a short synopsis of each story as I usually do when I read short stories. This is for my own person use to help me briefly remember what each story is about and whether or not I liked the story/author. I will try not to spoil any plots for future readers. I will just offer a vague review/opinion of the story. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. In a review I read about the book someone mentioned how we don't really expect this quality of writing fro prisoners and its a little narrow minded of us not to. I couldn't agree more. Some of these writers have exceptional talent and were fortunately given a place to have their work seen. We are the better for it. Here we go:

-Shuffle- I really enjoyed the writing in this story of a long time inmate & his new cell mate (or is it a new cellie)?

-I Saw an Angel- About a girl, Frankie who is scheduled to get out of jail in a week, just biding her time. I didn't really like this one. It was kind of confusing. You never really knew what they were talking about.

-Bardos- (see bottom of pg. 19 for description/explanation of this story. Its a pretty heavy read.) A man tells of a prisoners death as well as the death of his father. Very well written.

-Trap- Story of inmates entering the prison system & getting a job. Very fluid & easy to read.

-A Message in the Breath of Allah- A prisoner acting as a "helper to the dying" kills people in order for them to send messages to Allah for him. There are 12 victims in all & it may surprise you who the 12th victim is.

-Tune Up- A prison musician reflects on his time playing in a prison band. The writing was okay, but I didn't find the story very engaging though.

-Foxhole- ***I LOVED IT!!*** This was by far my favorite story in the book. Its hard to tell you what this story is about without spoiling it. But I will say it describes daily prison life perfectly. You almost feel as if you were there. The author does make the point though that you'll never be able to recreate it on the outside, but he really tried to make us feel as if we were right there with him.

-There Will Be Seeds For Next Year- The story of a man having formally attempted suicide bemoans the state of his Minnesota prison as the supposed apocalypse comes down on them. The story of the end of an institution brought down by a serial killer. The apocalypse has come.

-Immigrant Song- A Mexican immigrant recalls his reason for coming to America and what happened when he got here to end up in prison.

-Rat's Ass- A prisoner gets caught making hooch & tries to get a fellow prisoner, who works as a clerk, to lose his paperwork on the charge. But will he? And at what cost?

-Milk & Tea- ***Another Win!*** A crazy story about a female prisoner (one of only two stories in this book were written by women) & the life of abuse she led caused by her husband & what she did to stop it. It was also the story of how life in prison is driving her insane & what she's prepared to do about that.

-Angel Eyes= I'm not sure what to say about this one. I really enjoyed the story, the plot, but not so much the writing style. He used slang (words & phrases that were confusing). The story itself was about a new comer who becomes the target of a rapist & what happens when they meet.

-How Ebay Nearly Killed Gary Bridgeway- The story of how the Green River Killer was nearly executed all because one of his fellow inmates was selling his autograph on Ebay. This story was a hoot.

-3 Block From Hell- How one man took the criminal justice system into his own hands by killing repeat offenders.

-The Investigation- As an investigation into a prison murder takes place a prisoner reflects on all the murders he has seen over the years & what they mean.


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