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New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City
 
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New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City [Kindle Edition]

Andrei Codrescu
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

For two decades NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu has been living in and writing about his adopted city, where, as he puts it, the official language is dreams. How apt that a refugee born in Transylvania found his home in a place where vampires roam the streets and voodoo queens live around the corner; where cemeteries are the most popular picnic spots, the ghosts of poets, prostitutes, and pirates are palpable, and in the French Quarter, no one ever sleeps.


Codrescu's essays have been called "satirical gems," "subversive," "sardonic and stunning," "funny," "gonzo," "wittily poignant," and "perverse"—here is a writer who perfectly mirrors the wild, voluptuous, bohemian character of New Orleans itself. This retrospective follows him from newcomer to near native: first seduced by the lush banana trees in his backyard and the sensual aroma of coffee at the café down the block, Codrescu soon becomes a Window Gang regular at the infamous bar Molly's on Decatur, does a stint as King of Krewe de Vieux Carré at Mardi Gras, befriends artists, musicians, and eccentrics, and exposes the city’s underbelly of corruption, warning presciently about the lack of planning for floods in a city high on its own insouciance. Alas, as we all now know, Paradise is lost.


New Orleans, Mon Amour is an epic love song, a clear-eyed elegy, a cultural celebration, and a thank-you note to New Orleans in its Golden Age.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this lovely collection of very short essays (many two pages long), gravelly voiced NPR commentator Codrescu sketches finely honed portraits of a fabled city and its equally fabled inhabitants. The author, who has called the Big Easy home for two decades, shows how, like some gigantic bohemian magnet, New Orleans attracts some of the world's most talented, self-indulgent freaks. Codrescu finds himself quite at home there. He expertly weaves pages of New Orleans history through his stories of personal discovery and debauchery. The last few essays, written post-Katrina, radiate simultaneous anger and clarity. Full of pride and defensiveness, Codrescu closes the collection ruminating about rebuilding the city and his longing to return to its rhythms and eccentricities. Despite Codrescu's frustrations, this collection is, in the end, gentle and sweet. Readers can't help coming away from reading it without an abiding hope in the ability of ordinary people, under the worst circumstances, rising to whatever challenges they face. (Jan. 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The author is a popular NPR commentator who, although Romanian born, has been a New Orleans resident since the early 1980s. The release of this collection of essays about the city that occupies his heart could not be timelier; in fact, he has included a half-dozen pieces about its post-Katrina state. Two-page commentaries frequently give way to longer ruminations, but whether within a brief or long space, his remembrances and testimonies about the Big Easy, from the point when he arrived to the present day, share heartfelt moments and characters and conditions that are only discoverable in this most exotic of American cities. Crime is ever present, he admits, but he is equally adamant about how lovable a city it is, a place where many people call the phone numbers of the dead and fully expect the deceased to answer. Yes, living with alligators is, as he says, "an acquired taste," but on the other hand, St. Charles Avenue "has to be the most charming boulevard in the world." A place of uniqueness in all forms. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 287 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1565125053
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (January 31, 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004UPVMXK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,884 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a lovely tribute! October 25, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sometimes it takes someone from elsewhere to really appreciate a place. I have long been a fan of Andrei Codrescu's NPR commentaries and knew that he lived in New Orleans so when I saw this book I knew it would be good. It is. Codrescu, like so many of us who choose our new "hometown" loves everything about New Orleans and sees it with both loving and honest eyes. Like all great lovers he loves the flaws as much as he loves the beauties.

He writes about his years on carnival krews, about hours spent prowling the French Quarter, about Marie Laveau the legendary voodoo queen and other New Orleans characters, about food and the cemeteries where people meet as if they were parks. He writes about not being able to get out of his hammock --- all with wry humor, grace, and appreciation. And he writes with anger about Katrina and its aftermath.

I have only visited New Orleans but love it and was happy to be transported back there through the words of someone who notices everything and sees it honestly. I particularly appreciated some of his literary references. WARNING: this book can cause you to buy a lot more books. But, if you love New Orleans, you will treasure them, too.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Returning to New Orleans August 13, 2006
By GR
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a true fan of New Orleans. I read everything I can get my hands on about this city. Andrei Codrescu does an amazing job bringing you right back to this great city. You can almost smell the city as you read it. It is hard to put this book down. This is one of the best books I have ever read about New Orleans, My Love.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet Blanche DuBois December 18, 2007
Format:Paperback
"New Orleans is Blache DuBois" the essayist tells us and in a few lines, he gives the evidence for something that we may have suspected. Here is a city that brags about its great literature and then begs you not to read it-or at least not take it seriously. Come buy our life, it says, just don't look at all the death.
And so, unlike many other love songs to particular places, Codrescu's is sad. Perhaps some other cities will evoke the same sense of folly and loss- Venice is a likely candidate-but you can't imagine a similar book about New York or Prague or even Rome.
This is a book of essays whose roots in radio are obvious. You can almost hear them spoken aloud. They are also remarkably personal-the author sees America as a displaced Rumanian-turned-American. The perspective is valuable and he doesn't deny the reader its benefits. Read him following the National Guard as it responds to a flood on the Mississippi near Hannibal, Mo. to be undeceived about us. Read his obit for Jim Monaghan, romantically crusty barkeeper to be gently hoodwinked again.
These are stories about a city, but more fundamentally stories about displacement and encountering one's second home town.
All in all, a great and provocative entertainment.

Lynn Hoffman, author ofbang BANG: A Novel which is set in the author's second home town.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He gets it. December 18, 2009
By Dawn
Format:Paperback
Reading this book makes me ache to go back to the only place i've ever felt at home. He gets it. It's not sugar coated or sensationalized. He talks about the good the bad and the beautiful weirdness that is New Orleans. The stories are interesting and well told. I laighed and cried reading this book and I really wanted to be part of this man's cirle of friends. Very good read. Especially if you are already interested in NOLA or if you have some sort of connection to the place.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A prescient memoir January 29, 2011
By Sergio
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Codrescu for years through his spoken word bits he's done on National Public Radio (NPR). This is a collection of essays that he's written over a twenty year period about his adopted city of New Orleans, and it is a marvelous read. Codrescu's humor and insight are always sharp, and ordering this collection in this way allows the reader to follow his love affair with the city as it evolves from an initial infatuation to a deep and abiding love (the good and the bad), with the dark, unhappy moments that come with the package. Knowing about hurricane Katrina and post-Katrina New Orleans only serves to make many of his early observations even more relevant and powerful. Codrescu's essays reveal an ever-present awareness, likely shared by his neighbors, that the City was living on the edge of disaster.

I normally recommend reading collections like this in bits and pieces, and, certainly, one could do that, but the coherency of this anthology is so striking that I'd suggest taking it all in as you would a memoir or biography - a memoir is what this anthology turns out to be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful storytelling about the city January 25, 2008
Format:Paperback
I picked this book up for a research project but it turned into a wonderment! I've fallen in love with the city, in that exciting kind of romance of meeting an exciting stranger, and all the while knowing that our relationship can't end well.
When driving across town, I had my wife read it to me. It's flash article format makes it great for lots of quick reads. My wife enjoyed reading it too.

Nice job Andrei!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a love story to my fave city August 23, 2013
By Beverly
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
enjoyed this book. not an ongoing storyline, just snippets and chapters of only-in-NOLA happenings. very surprised a foreign-born gentleman gets New Orleans. there's no middle road for this city. u either love it or hate it. i just happen to love it. i call it the last holdout of personal freedom left in homogenized USA. the minute i get my feet on Bourbon Street, i feel alive. it's very obvious the author feels the same. the smells, the history, the oddballs (thank goodness)....it's all right here for ur pleasure. will remind u why u fell in love to begin with and/or make u fall in love again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dreamers
<b><i>New Orleans is Catholic, pagan, poor, and Bohemian. The music is the Devil's music and we are a cesspool of sin.</b></i>

The Crescent City. Read more
Published 3 months ago by The Prissy Snob
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Read
Andrei's intelligent and observant style of writing results in some interesting stories and perspectives about New Orleans. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Molly Weisenburger
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd recommend this book!
For anyone who appreciates NOLA or who is curious about the culture of the town this book is a witty, fun-to-read primer written by one of my favourite writers.
Published 11 months ago by Jesse Bearheart
4.0 out of 5 stars Delicious essays spanning two decades.
A wonderful collection of essays about New Orleans spanning 2 decades from the mid-80s up to post-Katrina today where "the American dream came unmoored... Read more
Published on April 2, 2010 by James M. Surprenant
3.0 out of 5 stars A loving tribute to the city of Marie Laveau, Commander's Palace, and...
Somehow I had never heard of Andrei Codrescu. Once I did, I discovered that he is nigh ubiquitous, both as a commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered" (which I rarely listen... Read more
Published on March 19, 2010 by R. M. Peterson
4.0 out of 5 stars NOLA fan
I recommend purchasing this book if you plan to, or have been to New Orleans. I have to say it was a great complement to my trip and is still a good read if you're just looking to... Read more
Published on February 5, 2010 by Jenilee PAJEL
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as being there.
Fantastic - evocative, inspiring and engaging. Great writing about a fantastic city - it puts me in mind of that great NOLA title by Richard Katrovas - Mystic Pig. Read more
Published on October 13, 2008 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time
Terrible retelling of what makes New Oleans special. Codrescu's account shows what's wrong with the city before and after the great storm. Read more
Published on January 12, 2007 by Jeffrey D. Daniel
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More About the Author

Andrei Codrescu (codrescu.com) was born in Sibiu, Transylvania, Romania. His first poetry book "License to Carry a Gun" won the Big Table Poetry award. He founded Exquisite Corpse: a Journal of Books & Ideas (corpse.org), taught literature and poetry at Johns Hopkins University, University of Baltimore, and Louisiana State University where he was MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English. He is a regular commentator on NPR's All Things Considered since 1983, has received a Peabody Award for writing and starring in the film "Road Scholar. In 1989 he returned to his native Romania to cover the fall of the Ceausescu regime for NPR and ABC News, and wrote "The Hole in the Flag: an Exile's Story of Return and Revolution." He is the author of books of poetry, novels, essays; the most recent are "The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess," (2009) "The Poetry Lesson" (2010) and "whatever gets you through the night: a story of sheherezade and the arabian entertainments" (2011), all published by Princeton University Press.



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