“The History of the Barclay Hotel: A collection of true short stories both epic and tragic” is an extremely interesting and well written piece from author J.M. Moore. As a whole, the book is a collection of the vast, sordid history of the Barclay Hotel, ranging from the structure’s historical past to its popularity amongst filmmakers as a set.
Immediately, I was entranced by the author’s approach to the depiction of the infamous hotel. Instead of presenting a straightforward historical retrospective of the location, J.M. Moore rather uniquely presents snippets of the past via newspaper articles and splices it with just enough back story to bring these isolated events in history alive to the reader.
Clearly, hours and hours of research was made into The Barclay by the author. Each carefully selected word is a veritable testimony to the historical facts that has befallen its walls. Is it haunted? Maybe. Have there been mysterious deaths and murders throughout the years? Uh huh. Is the novel riveting? OMG yes.
I have so many favorite parts, but the if I had to choose one, it would have to be the virtual tour of the hotel found at Barclay Hotel History.
You get chills from the stories that all of the walls speak.
This one’s heavy.
Heavy, but honest. Frank E. Dobson’s prosaic “Rendered Invisible: Stories of Blacks and Whites, Love and Death” is timeless in its tenacity and representation of the still-present racism lingering around the world. However, instead of decided to focus on the pain and insensitivity that typically accompanies tales of blatant racism, Dobson provides a slant on the emotions and stories of those affected.
We all know that the media is selective in what it decides ‘news worthy’ to share with the world. Dobson brings attention to one of the examples of a heinous crime that should have been on every television screen in America. Set in the 80’s (one of my favorite decades), this collection of short stories is gritty in setting and dialogue alike. The true-life .22 Caliber killings rocked New York. A serial killer with racism as one of his chief motivators is the evil here, malicious with intent.
Dobson interestingly plays on the sometimes inherent racism that still exists in modern cities today. With a murderer who is bent on inciting a racial war by killing black men, each story here study different overarching life themes. Gender and class, as well as race, provide the crux of the tales, providing the reader with an intimate look into the people of a city rocked by violence and fear.
Dobson accomplishes that rare feat of uniting humanity in terms of the human condition instead of the color of one’s skin. It’s an important piece that will speak to all readers.
Reading a novel based on a true story could turn out either really amazingly well (see Into the Wild) or very, very bad (well, I don’t want to get into trouble so let’s leave this one to your imagination). David Workman’s richly detailed “Letter From Alabama” fortunately falls into the former type of novelization, and I was very thankful for that discovery.
“Letter From Alabama” is a timeless piece of fiction. Telling the true story of a letter published in a small town newspaper in May 1952, Workman successfully manages to keep a neutral point of view in the often myriad of plot developments that can sometimes be difficult to endure. Tackling the overarching and weighty themes that are often depicted in many modern literary masterpieces, Workman’s weaving of the power of forgiveness and unconditional love of family demonstrates his clear talent of storytelling.
Book Cover of David Workman’s “Letter from Alabama”