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The Last Bohemia: Scenes from the Life of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Paperback – August 7, 2012
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"His clear-eyed, heartfelt elegy shows why a Williamsburg―free, fecund, gloriously threadbare―is so vital to the culture."―Publishers Weekly
"With a fine ear for dialogue and a nonjudgmental eye, Anasi conjures the pre-9/11 atmosphere of the place, in which the beer flowed like water and there was always a place to crash after a night of pub crawling. An impressive bit of literary journalism and a sympathetic look at a vanished era."―Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Robert Anasi is the author of The Gloves: A Boxing Chronicle (North Point Press, 2002). He teaches literary journalism at the University of California, Irvine, where he is a Schaeffer and Chancellor's Club fellow. He is also a founding editor of the literary journal Entasis.
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Top Customer Reviews
Robert Anasi’s The Last Bohemia is a great book by a writer who was there the whole time. He narrates this great history of the area, from a time when it was a backwater to the present day “hipster” hangout. When I say hipster, I’m not making any compliments; the so-called “hip” is little more than a bunch of snobs trying to one-up everyone else with their expensive clothing and knowledge of every bar, band, and eatery. The real “hip” people lived in Williamsburg because the rent was cheap. The real artists had to work, and they put up with the place being not much fun.
Anasi doesn’t pull any punches when describing the uber-stylish. He has a lot of respect for the people that lived there before it was cool, and those are the people that got priced out. It truly is the “last bohemia,” because there’s no place like it left in this city (unless you want to trek farther and farther from Manhattan.)
This book reminds me of the recent In Love With Art, because 1970’s Soho is described in a similar way; run-down, few restaurants, but safe, because nobody had anything to steal.Read more ›
These collected personal stories sing, not of “hipsters” as a group but of specific people, misfits—both New York natives and transplants—who forged their own community. Anasi plays anthropologist as well as part-time protagonist, and writes with a hedonistic love of language that most fiction writers would envy.
Anasi skillfully raises the dead, recreating a scene of scavenged lives, heroin habits, and a DIY entertainment ethic that planted the seeds for the North Brooklyn hipster scene including the modern movements of mixology, burlesque, and artisanal everything. That this bohemia exploded into a boomtown landgrab is described without undue bitterness.
Anasi’s personal adventurousness as an explorer is inspiring. Anyone who was here before 2005 crawled through the hole in the fence at the waterfront to look at the view amongst burnt-out cars, but Anasi went far further—and far later in time—proving that the urban jungle offers treasures for the bold.
If we have lost something—and we most certainly have—Anasi has graced it in elegy, and he’s given us hope that further treasures await if we’re only willing to look.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great read about the changing of Williamsburg. Robert mixed his personal experiences with municipal history. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Gavin
I was just in Williamsburg visiting on a tip from my brother whose close buddy moved to Brooklyn several years ago… In fact, I bought this book at Spoonbill and Sugartown. Read morePublished 8 months ago by D. A. Kalnoky Jr.
Not a bad book -- considering the writer is clueless about how to write a story. Incredibly, the author teaches on the college level, and his subject is Literary Journalism. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Stewart Nusbaumer
As someone who is very interested in what is happening across America to our cities; by which I mean the process of gentrification that is so changing the landscape in cities for... Read morePublished 21 months ago by S. Goldberg
My boyfriend loved this book as he lived in Williamsburg and he said it was fun to remember many things he had thought he forgot about.Published 23 months ago by Jennifer
I live in Williamsburg currently and I enjoyed hearing about how the neighborhood was years ago before the revitalization. A great book, easy to read.Published 23 months ago by Kristin Hanefeld
great book - great writer! loved reading it. i lived in williamsburg from 1998 - 2002. how lucky i have been to have lived there back then!Published on October 1, 2012 by pensionfund