One For New York by John A Williams Reviewed by Steve Rudd
A remarkable novel in every respect, this is a classic piece of literature from an
incredibly gifted writer who expressed exactly how it felt to be a black man
growing up in the United States early on in the last Century.
This book focuses on his vain attempts to land himself a good job in New York,
all the while his heart is being torn between two women in his complicated personal life.
He loves both a lady called Grace, who his brother ended up marrying (because
he could provide her with more security), and a white lady called Lois.
Through the course of the book, as well as chronicling his career trajectory (he
winds up in a vanity publishing job, but still feels he is being discriminated
against when his employer avoids giving him a pay rise despite him being wholly
worthy of one), we follow how he comes to the conclusion that Grace is the woman for him.
John A. Williams brings to life some amazingly vivid scenes, not least when he
drops by the Birdland nightclub in the city with a friend to see a jazz band play.
Williams has a rare ability of describing the musicians on stage - and the way
in which they play their instruments - that all the reader really needs is his
words to marvel at how great the band must sound (The alto sax man pivoted
slightly and began to blow with a gentle rush of air, for example).
Williams also gives Jack Kerouac a run for his money when he describes the
journey from LA to New York, eagerly recounting the excitement of heading first
through the mountains of California, and on into the desert as he travelled
further East towards the Big Apple.
He also makes New York sound like a wonderful city when the mood takes him,
even if it isn't particularly easy living there when you're black.
But, just before dawn; just before people poured out of and into offices;
before the noises started screaming through the glass-brick, asphalt-floored
canyons; before the light came up and the buildings became harsh and
their windows glinted like the points of steel daggers.
At that moment New York was mine and I was surveying it, sauntering through
it, making sure everything and everyone in it was all right.
Ah yes, John A. Williams - in his writing - has the heart of a true poet.
Williams was born back in 1925, and is perhaps best known for his best-selling book
The Man Who Cried I Am.
Still, his One For New York masterpiece really is so brilliant that, if I were you,
I'd be tempted to get two...
ISBN 0-86241-648-5 (Payback Press; first published as The Angry Ones in the USA in 1974)
Reviews, Books - Dr. Sax by Jack Kerouac Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Even hardcore fans of this legendary author might be in two minds about how much they
like this novel of his.
Jack is best-known for his travel-trained adventures back and forth across the
USA (in On The Road, Big Sur and The Dharma Bums for example), and further
Reviews, Books - Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear Reviewed By Cathy Walker
Can you name a female private detective? Your answer might be Miss Marple or
Mma Ramotswe of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, but thanks to
Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs is another name to add to that list.
Initially it seems that
Reviews, Books - Strange Angels by Andy Bull Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Books come no more riveting than this mini-masterpiece that reads both as an eye-opening
travelogue and close analysis of the lives - and deaths - of four all-American icons.
Marilyn Monroe. Elvis Presley. James Dean. JFK.
Reviews, Books - Blackpool Highflyer by Andrew Martin (Faber and Faber Ltd.) Reviewed By Cathy Walker
A novel about a Yorkshireman who is nuts about the railways and his adventures as an engine driver...
Admittedly this sounds like something that might appeal just to trainspotters, but in the
Blackpool Highflyer:, Andrew Martin:
Reviews, Books - The Pastures of Heaven by John Steinbeck Reviewed by Steve Rudd
After the bare requisites to living and reproducing, man wants most to leave some
record of himself, a proof, perhaps, that he has really existed.
He leaves his proof on wood, on stone or on the lives of other people.
This deep desire exists in everyone, from the boy Read more...
Reviews, Theatre - 15th February 05 - The Woman in White at the Palace Theatre, London By Steve Rudd
The Woman in White is the latest box-office-busting musical extravaganza from
Andrew Lloyd Webber,
based on the famous Victorian novel of the same name that was published way, way back in
1860 by the distinguished and understandably
Reviews, Theatre - GO WEST, to the South of the Thames and see National Anthems! By Steve Rudd
The West End of London city centre is a magical place, packed with cinemas and theatres.
There are always some amazing shows to be seen in such theatres, whether they are full-blown
musicals or pure drama-driven plays, and I guess the most frustrating thing about taking
a trip to
Reviews, Films - Meet The Fockers By DJ Chris Plant
Having given permission to male nurse Greg Focker (Stiller) to wed his daughter (Polo),
ex-CIA man Jack Byrnes (De Niro) and his wife (Danner) travel to Detroit to meet the
parents, who this time around are Mr. and Mrs. Focker (Hoffman and Streisand),
Reviews, Books - The Butterfly Effect by Pernille Rygg Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Death is nothing to young girls, except as part of the adventure, an exciting secret
whispered by a dark lover, not something you meet one evening when you're going home to your movie or father.
Such a notion is all about to change
Reviews, Events - Comedy in Hull - A Ringside Seat - Thursday 2nd February 05 By Jim Higo
While we all sit around moaning about the lack of decent live entertainment in
Hull; Buzz Comedy Club have been doing something about it.
While we get in from work, moan again about the lack of decent live entertainment in
Reviews, Books - The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans Reviewed By Steve Rudd
It was in America that horses first roamed.
A million years before the birth of man, they grazed the vast plains of wiry grass
and crossed to other continents over bridges of rock soon severed by retreating ice.
They first knew man as the hunted knows the hunterRead more...
Reviews, Books - Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland Reviewed by Steve Rudd
I realise that by deciding not to do things, I've lost millions of threads of chance
and opportunity to have new experiences, to meet new people - to be alive, really.
So now I'm going to start doing things I'm bad at again. Heck, I'm going to do things
Reviews, Books - The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy Reviewed By Steve Rudd
The one way to be happy is to love, to love self-denyingly, to love everybody and everything.
If you fancy a nice little slab of classic literature, then this beauty of a story might be for you.
Set on the harsh Russian Steppes back in the nineteenth century, this simple-living
Reviews, Books - Pink by Gus Van Sant Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Famed Hollywood-based director Gus, like actor Ethan Hawke, is now making his name as an author too.
This is his debut novel, and a bizarrely tripped-out one at that, putting the reader in the mind of
Douglas CouplandRead more...
Reviews, Books - God's Debris by Scott Adams Reviewed by Katherine Horrex
God's Debris explores the philosophy of physical science within a fictional story.
It was written by Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert and is the number one best-selling
E-book on the planet.
Adams himself describes it as a