Brooklyn, NY

3 Authors from Brooklyn You Should be Reading in 2021

Riley Blue

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Image from Goodreads

If you live in New York City and in and around Brooklyn, you'd be pleasantly surprised to know that there are quite a few talented writers living in the area who not only write supremely engaging books but are so marvelously skilled, that you will be left at a loss for words after experiencing their talent first-hand.

This post discusses three authors living in Brooklyn who have carved a name for themselves in the literary world. Read on to know some amazing local talents who have made the citizens of Brooklyn proud.

Yelena Akhtiorskaya

As her Goodreads bio claims, Yelena Akhtiorskaya was born in Odessa, Ukraine in 1985 and immigrated to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn at age 7. She holds an MFA from Columbia University. She is the recipient of a Posen Fellowship in Fiction for emerging Jewish writers, and her writing has appeared in n+1, The New Republic, Electric Literature, Tablet, Triple Canopy and elsewhere. She lives in New York City. A book by her that you should definitely not miss out on is Panic in a Suitcase. As the Goodreads blurb claims,

In this account of two decades in the life of an immigrant household, the fall of communism and the rise of globalization are artfully reflected in the experience of a single family. Ironies, subtle and glaring, are revealed: the Nasmertovs left Odessa for Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, with a huge sense of finality, only to find that the divide between the old world and the new is not nearly as clear-cut as they thought. The dissolution of the Soviet Union makes returning just a matter of a plane ticket, and the Russian-owned shops in their adopted neighborhood stock even the most obscure comforts of home. Pursuing the American Dream once meant giving up everything, but does the dream still work if the past is always within reach?

If the Nasmertov parents can afford only to look forward, learning the rules of aspiration, the family’s youngest, Frida, can only look back.

In striking, arresting prose loaded with fresh and inventive turns of phrase, Yelena Akhtiorskaya has written the first great novel of Brighton Beach: a searing portrait of hope and ambition, and a profound exploration of the power and limits of language itself, its ability to make connections across cultures and generations.

Reed Farrel Coleman

As his Goodreads bio claims, Reed Farrel Coleman’s love of storytelling originated on the streets of Brooklyn and was nurtured by his teachers, friends, and family.

A New York Times bestseller called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan and the “noir poet laureate” in the Huffington Post, Reed is the author of novels, including Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series, the acclaimed Moe Prager series, short stories, and poetry.

Reed is a three-time Edgar Award nominee in three different categories—Best Novel, Best Paperback Original, Best Short Story—and a three-time recipient of tChris Arnade

A former executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America, Reed is an adjunct instructor of English at Hofstra University and a founding member of MWA University. Brooklyn born and raised, he now lives with his family–including cats Cleo and Knish–in Suffolk County on Long Island.

Chris Arnade

A book by this amazingly talented author you absolutely shouldn't miss is Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America. As the Goodreads blurb claims,

Widely acclaimed photographer and writer Chris Arnade shines new light on America's poor, drug-addicted, and forgotten--both urban and rural, blue state and red state--and indicts the elitists who've left them behind.

Like Jacob Riis in the 1890s, Walker Evans in the 1930s, or Michael Harrington in the 1960s, Chris Arnade bares the reality of our current class divide in stark pictures and unforgettable true stories. Arnade's raw, deeply reported accounts cut through today's clickbait media headlines and indict the elitists who misunderstood poverty and addiction in America for decades.

After abandoning his Wall Street career, Arnade decided to document poverty and addiction in the Bronx. He began interviewing, photographing, and becoming close friends with homeless addicts, and spent hours in drug dens and McDonald's. Then he started driving across America to see how the rest of the country compared. He found the same types of stories everywhere, across lines of race, ethnicity, religion, and geography.

The people he got to know, from Alabama and California to Maine and Nevada, gave Arnade a new respect for the dignity and resilience of what he calls America's Back Row--those who lack the credentials and advantages of the so-called meritocratic upper class. The strivers in the Front Row, with their advanced degrees and upward mobility, see the Back Row's values as worthless. They scorn anyone who stays in a dying town or city as foolish, and mock anyone who clings to religion or tradition as naive.

As Takeesha, a woman in the Bronx, told Arnade, she wants to be seen she sees herself: "a prostitute, a mother of six, and a child of God." This book is his attempt to help the rest of us truly see, hear, and respect millions of people who've been left behind.

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