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New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City Paperback – Deckle Edge, January 31, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (January 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565125053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565125056
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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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.

Customer Reviews

I read everything I can get my hands on about this city.
GR
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.
Sergio
Great writing about a fantastic city - it puts me in mind of that great NOLA title by Richard Katrovas - Mystic Pig.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Valentine on 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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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By GR on August 13, 2006
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 By Lynn Hoffman, author:Radiation Days: A Comedy VINE VOICE on 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 By Sergio on January 29, 2011
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 By Lancer Kind on 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dawn on December 18, 2009
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James M. Surprenant on April 2, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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..."

Codrescu is one of my favorite poets and essayists he doesn't fail to deliver here. I'm quite partial to Codrescu's use of language..."I like people who stumble through language without any idea of what they might run into. It's what I do. I like myself. Sometimes."

As a gifted poet, Codrescu writes with precision, employing an exceptional economy of words and more importantly, always choosing the correct word. (As a result of reading this during the Great Northeastern Spring Floods of 2010, the word "bumbershoot" has returned to my own lexicon!).

Codrescu continually employs apt and often humorous metaphors in his writing - there is no short supply of these here..."New Orleans cemeteries look like vast bakeries quietly holding the ancestral loaves. This is no idle metaphor in a city that loves its dead as much as its food. The sense that life and death are locked in amorous gourmandise is everywhere."

I have only been to N.O. once, and as much as I loved my time there and long to return, Codrescu has taken me there and has made his city so much more real for me. He makes me wonderfully aware of the difference of seeing the city as a tourist and as a Bohemian New Orleansian. That's not to say he doesn't appreciate and accept us tacky tourists for our ever-present and essential role in his city..."If you don't like visitors, you shouldn't live in New Orleans. ... You don't have to be a whore if you live in a whorehouse, but it helps. Everybody who lives here works for the house, like it or not.
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