Books by Joel Rose

Released: March 12, 2007

"A twisty second half livens things up, but most readers will likely not make it that far."
Two actual murders and a third fictional one collide with the dark world of Edgar Allen Poe in this uneven historical mystery by Rose (Kill Kill Faster Faster, 1997, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1997

The editor emeritus of New York's Lower East Side (and the author of one previous novel, Kill the Poor, 1988) here tries to cash in on the post-Tarantino trend in nihilist/killer coolness for this tale of a Jack Henry Abbott sort—an ex-con who writes his way out of a life sentence only to end up back in the can on a bum rap. Joey One-Way, ``a walking aberration, a talking negotiation,'' serves over 17 years for killing his adulterous wife, who was ``light, bright, and almost white.'' As narrator of this supposedly transgressive narrative, Joey establishes his street credo early on, both with his ungrammatical ghetto dialect and his boast of tearing off a jail rapist's testicles. Joey's jailhouse masterpiece, ``White Man Black Hole,'' lands him a job ``juicing up'' scripts for a Miami Vice-like TV show set on Manhattan's mean streets, on which Joey is ostensibly an authority. Joey's pent-up aggression finds expression in a number of ways: He slashes a street punk in the face, he breaks a beer bottle over the head of a Maileresque writer at a cocktail party, and he enjoys lots of steamy sex with the wife of the man who arranged his release, the show's producer. Irony of ironies, this showbiz smoothie will also frame Joey for schtupping his old lady, a sultry French Algerian, a former prostitute who became famous writing about her career. Joey's so cool that he not only talks funny (``Joey smell death''), but he can't believe how lame all the upscale heroin users are in Manhattan (i.e., junkies ain't what they used to be). A stunning display of artsploitation, this self-styled shocker will probably suffer the fate of such books: Those who would be shocked aren't likely to read it. But if they do, they'll discover that the biggest con here is not Joey or his producer, but the novel itself. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 14, 1993

Novelists Rose and Texier, editors of the now-defunct Between C & D, bring together 16 stories by writers who prowl ``the edges of human experience and literary form.'' After their breathless introduction, with its frequent use of the word ``edge,'' the editors turn to many of the writers best known from their Lower East Side magazine, all of whom testify to the peculiar nature of romance in a time of disease and safe sex. The two least sentimental pieces are by gay men. David Feinberg's ``Breaking Up with Roger'' is a sad, campy tale of love between two HIV-positive men with nothing in common except a race against time. And David Wojnarowicz's ``From the Diaries of a Wolf Boy'' chronicles the down-and-out (and risk-taking) escapades of a gay hustler. Pieces from William Vollmann's The Rainbow Stories and A.M. Homes's The Safety of Objects seem selected for their self- conscious weirdness. Likewise, fairly typical and incoherent excerpts from Barry Gifford and Kathy Acker. Darius James's self- explanatory ``The Blackman's Guide to Seducing White Women with the Amazing Power of Voodoo'' is not nearly as witty as his recent novel, Negrophobia. And Trey Ellis's tale of unrequited interracial romance leads nowhere slowly. Women attracted to the wrong kinds of men narrate Lynn McFall's ``Bitter Love'' (the heroine loses an eye in a poolroom catfight); Lisa Blaushild's ``Asking For It'' (a lonely woman writes a love letter to her unknown rapist); and Daytona Beach's ``The Kid'' (a 35-year-old woman looking for a man who can move like her vibrator seduces her girlfriend's 14-year-old son). David Foster Wallace's overly long saga of politically correct love (``Order and Flux in Northampton'') is as strained and sophomoric as his previous work. And the two stories by the editors are as ineptly written as their throwaway introduction. Last gasps from a dying (and never that vital) literary scene. Read full book review >