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The Waterfront Journals Paperback – May 7, 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With a raw, empathic ventriloquism, Wojnarowicz (who died of AIDS in 1992) fashions monologues from his encounters with hobos, truckers, hustlers and junkies he met during his years of cross-country travel. Using a stream-of-consciousness first-person prose style, Wojnarowicz (Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration) deftly draws upon the vernacular and cadences of street life. "Guy on 2nd Avenue 1:00 a.m." is delivered in one extended sentence, capturing the breathless urgency of the speaker. In other cases, staggered punctuation emphasizes the rambling quality of verbal recall. Because these stories are told as though the narrators were speaking directly to the reader, the tales of desperation, degeneracy and unsavory circumstances often lack a context or any type of resolution. Only the last two entries in the collection, both told in the author's own first-person narrative, explore more fully the themes of alienation and physical loneliness just touched upon in the preceding monologues. Most of the pieces succeed more as snapshots-dark corners of society illuminated with a strobe light.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

The late performance artist (Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration, not reviewed), made famous by Jesse Helms, left these 40-plus short monologues--all of them written before his work became focused on his struggle with AIDS. Despite the argument advanced by Tony Kushner's politically hysterical introduction, these voices from the dark side needn't be ``authentic'' to have value as literature. Their similarity in syntax and design in fact suggest the controlling medium of Wojnarowicz, who romanticizes the down and out: the boy hustlers, junkies, alcoholics, crazies, whores, truckers, and hobos who relate their anecdotes of infamy in these relentlessly seedy narratives. The sex is mostly gay and anonymous. One man finds purity in such encounters by the Hudson River; another describes sex with a legless Vietnam vet; yet another takes advantage of a sick teenager who had previously resisted anal sex; a runner meets two drug-taking priests who talk about the size of various men they've had; a boy fades in and out of consciousness as he's being brutally raped by a sadist; another boy entertains a masochist; and a fellow describes the joys of naked boxing. The boys ``hustlin the Square'' describe the changes in Times Square johns; the whores tell of violent customers and corrupt cops. Winos and junkies, meanwhile, babble about all sorts of things, and a night watchman records his sad marital history. Truckers remember the golden age of hoboes, and a hobo talks of using trickery to commit his wife to an insane asylum. Many of these figures spin swift tales of deceit and deception, such as the boy who discovers that his movie-balcony pick-up is really a pre-op transsexual. Little attention is paid to place in these quick takes, and the speakers don't have much time to develop individuality, creating a certain flattening effect overall. If Studs Terkel covered the Jean Genet beat, the result might be something like these oral snippets, more sad than shocking. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 127 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (May 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802135048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802135049
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,235,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Margaret Morrison on June 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
David Wojnarowicz's brief monologues from the street may indeed be somewhat romantic, as one reviewer put it, but they are also raw and riveting because they give readers a glimpse, albeit from Wojnarowizc's perspective, of the dark, rich underside or "other"-side of dominant American life. The monologues describe worlds that only suggest themselves occasionally to most of us, perhaps in the face of a homeless person or a panhandler or a tranny hustler. We tend to forget or blind ourselves to these compelling lives because they may seem so "abnormal" or so "disgusting," especially if they appear to be "chosen" lives, which some are, not just the lives of those who are desperate or despairing or impoverished or mentally ill. Whether the lives are of the latter kind or the former, we need to remember to embrace them as a part of the continuum of all American life, and Wojnarowicz helps us to do that with insight and compassion.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Like most of Worjnarowicz work this book of short essays/monolouges/stories is equal parts heart breaking and powerful. Knowing that it was published posthumously after his death from HIV/AIDS makes it all the more gut wrenching when he talks about his eyes being destined for an early grave.
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Format: Paperback
This collection of stories is unlike any other that i've read. The journals are incredibly moving evoking a range of emotions at once. Some make you cringe, others make you want to cry and there's one or two that'll make you smile and give you hope for humanity. Graphic so not for everyone but definitely recommended.
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Format: Paperback
An intimate look into Wojnarowicz's life … if you liked Close to the Knives and want to know more about what made David the person he was I'd suggest this.
Gritty and beautiful.
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