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tropic of brooklyn?“When Donald Peabody Coffin first lived in Brooklyn, State Street was still a slum, and his most memorable concerned the time he accidentally locked himself on the roof on New Year’s Eve and was shot at by a drunken Puerto Rican on the stroke of midnight. He was on the roof of the opposite tenement. The bullets made little black specks in the snow as Coffin dodged here and there and the whistles blew in the harbor, but eventually he ran out of ammunition and Coffin was left to contemplate his predicament in peace. The door was definitely locked; he had heard the latch spring into place when he’d thoughtlessly yanked it shut behind him— he’d gone up for the whistles; he never missed them— and no amount of banging or full-voiced cries seemed to be able to attract the attention of either the Lopezes or the al-Barsinis, who lived on the floor immediately bloew and were undoubtedly convinced it was the junkies again.” — L.J. Davis, from Walking Small (1974)

Boerum If You Got ‘Em: Walking Small, published by George Braziller, was the fourth and final L.J. Davis novel to appear before, it seems, Davis quit the fiction racket for odd-jobbery and journalism. If you’ve not knowingly seen nor heard of any of Davis’ novels before, it’s now easy to fix that, as NYRB has just reprinted A Meaningful Lifefirst offered unto a disinterested world in 1971 by Viking Books— with a new introduction by Jonathan Lethem. Both L.J. and Jonathan will be appearing at Book Court this Tuesday night at 7 PM. Rumor has it Caz Dolowicz himself will be in attendance, recently returned from Florida. Maybe he’ll even have tan lines! — Kenny Wisdom

r dot“Jonathan Lethem: If Dean Street Could Talk,” my interview with the Dean Street legend and also my first personal encounter with a known L.J. Davis admirer, is now in Stop Smiling #38, which should be available at most indie bookstores, lotsa indie record stores and all larger newsstands. It’s the 20 Interviews issue, with either R. Crumb or David Lynch on the cover. My piece is not online but Jonathan and I go head-to-head for five action packed, cobblestone gritty, Gowanus soaked pages— with a little sex in it and some California squalor too. — Brian Berger

Photograph, “Tropic of Brooklyn” (Clearwater), by Caz Dolowicz


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