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Welcome to Oakland Paperback – July 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933293802
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933293806
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,833,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

...this powerful slice of greasy, grimy life is highly recommended, especially for those living in urban areas. --Library Journal --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Eric Miles Williamson is the mystic on the street corner, the one who promises his listeners better days to come. Only those locked into their daily cyclic movements will continue walking past his street corner. And those of us who will listen will be fulfilled because we'll already be drawn in by Williamson's fierce bravery to step away from conventional storytelling in order to release the wild beast contained in the narrative of Welcome to Oakland. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Another great novel from Willimason.
Chris B.
Eric Miles Williamson is the mystic on the street corner, the one who promises his listeners better days to come.
Tony
Great book with very vivid descriptions.
Spagettaboutit

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Prufer on July 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a scary ride and T-Bird Murphy is, in many ways, a scary sort of down-and-out, working class, foul-mouthed poetic character. The setting (as in others of Williamson's novels) is mostly the streets of Oakland, where T-Bird scrapes by, on a remarkable sort of quest for (though he wouldn't admit it himself) beauty and honesty. Williamson is an amazing writer of characters; everyone in this episodic, violent, funny, and sometimes deeply moving novel is richly imagined. Though I can imagine this book ruffling the feathers of gentler readers, WELCOME TO OAKLAND is one of the best novels I've read in a long, long time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tony on July 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
Eric Miles Williamson smashes through the complex barriers of socio-economics and socio-emotionality with his latest novel Welcome to Oakland. Here, Williamson offers to readers the return of his beloved bad boy, foul-mouthed protagonist T-Bird Murphy, who was first introduced by Williamson in his acclaimed novel "East Bay Grease". However, in "Welcome to Oakland", Murphy is now a man, and life isn't rich with happy days. There's struggle with dead end jobs, dead end friendships and dead end moments saturated with ill fated melancholy. There's loathsome plight and disparaging ideologies that linger about Murphy's dismal existence. But Murphy is a survivor. He's a remarkable human being that manages to press on against the bitter East Bay winds that whimsically funnel through the sad Oakland streets. Murphy also possesses a certain richness that allows him to see things differently. Where there's struggle, Murphy sees the promise of better days. And where there's plight, Murphy sees distinguished beauty. Murphy's charismatic courage to endure through the hard times shines away the grim realities of life in Oakland.

Eric Miles Williamson is the mystic on the street corner, the one who promises his listeners better days to come. Only those locked into their daily cyclic movements will continue walking past his street corner. And those of us who will listen will be fulfilled because we'll already be drawn in by Williamson's fierce bravery to step away from conventional storytelling in order to release the wild beast contained in the narrative of "Welcome to Oakland".

[This review was first published on June 23, 2009 by Examiner.com]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brandon on September 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Eric Miles Williamson's Welcome to Oakland is the book the Beats would have written if their privileged upbringings hadn't sent them to the Horace Manns and Columbias of the world. Seldom a book comes along that walks into your comfortable suburban living room, grabs you by your designer lapels, and screams in your face, "This is the truth, man."

Williamson unabashedly tells us the truth as he sees it in all of its filthy, stinking beauty. While other authors struggle to find the politically correct décolletage of an adjective to make their point, Williamson shoves his in your face with a fist-strangled bouquet of malodorously delicious prosody. He introduces readers to the underside of Oakland's elite blue collar hard-working men and women and leads a new generation to Jack London's 21st century's People of the Abyss.

In Welcome to Oakland, East Bay Grease's loveable T-Bird Murphy returns grown and struggling with new and adult adventures. Yet, as Williamson takes us on the whirlwind ride of exquisite expletives and jack-hammered pounding prose through T-Bird's streets of Oakland and to the liquor soaked stools of Dick's Bar, he is redefining American literature and letting T-Bird weave the tale.

Reminiscent of Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart, Williamson's Oakland Trilogy (East Bay Grease, Welcome to Oakland, and Oakland, Jack London, and Me) shows us the insidious world of conniving ex-wives; the romantic loyalty of hard-drinking, pickled-livered construction workers; and the tumult of living on the edge of Oakland's abyss. He does it with a verve and determination lacking in today's pedantically written, woe is me, personal essays of tragedy and addiction. Which good ól T-Bird Murphy and Eric Miles Williamson will tell the sycophants of today's tawdry letters, "Get over it."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S Bennett on December 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Eric Miles Williamson's WELCOME TO OAKLAND presents the time-honored theme of man-against-society as a metafictional quest to transform the adversity of an abusive, blue-collar childhood into a celebration of community, loyalty, and individuality. In this text, Williamson continues the story of his anti-hero, T-Bird, who copes schizophrenically with his environment, simultaneously disparaging and championing its elements, just as he reproaches and salutes his avowed proletarian status. The mechanism of these dynamics involves a twisting path through a would-be cultural junkyard, replete with its toxic refuse, savage dogs, and beautiful heirlooms.

T-Bird's vehicles for transcendence are the very power of literature which the text in fact comprises in real time, along with an avowal of music as a similarly potent means of expression--for the beleaguered T-Bird has mastered the trumpet, as both as an act of independence and a social coup. And while by any measure, the treatment which T-Bird receives at the hands of his parents, childhood cohorts, and other Oakland denizens is often violent and cruel, T-Bird's response is not to withdraw, hide, and nurse his wounds, but to launch his own gut-kicking battle, literally and figuratively, against forces which would deny his humanity.

T-Bird's personal antagonism must often match the merciless treatment that he has received from his oppressors, and he lashes out against enemies, real and imagined, with hyperbolic attacks as compelling in their prose rhythms as in their potency. None are spared--not even the reader--who, side-by-side with T-Bird, journeys through the underbelly and dementia of society to emerge with a new understanding both of the fragility of the human psyche and its demands for validation.
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