This week one of my favorite bookstores for lurking, McNally Jackson, hosted the humble and charming writer, Mark Chiusano (@). He visited McNally to discuss his debut story collection, Marine Park, with the prudent Dave Daley, Editor-In-Chief of Salon.com. Though I have not yet had the pleasure of reading the book, I’ve heard many good things about it – since my ear is to the ground, as usual. “Subtle, tender, [and] emotionally powerful,” says buzzworthy Whiting Awardee Said Sayrafiezadeh of Marine Park. After having heard the modesty and aplomb of Chiusano’s comments, I will surely seek out his book poste haste.
A giddy and knowing crowd – some of whom, I surmise, traveled all the way from the real Marine Park – applauded and blushed at the author’s mention of the beloved Brooklyn neighborhood, sandwiched as it is between the Rockaways, Sheepshead Bay, and Brighton Beach. By the end of the reading I felt I, too, had developed a certain fondness for fresh-faced, first-generation Russian immigrants and their children, struggling to form an identity amid the changing landscape of topsy-turvy Brooklyn.
How could I not? The difficult truth is that I know what it is like to be marginalized, relegated to the boundaries of society, as though I were some bizarre creature, posing an existential quandary to the law-abiding mainstream citizen. Anti-bigfoot prejudice is still rampant in our world today. It may shock you to hear, dear reader, but I am not one to shirk the truth. I am here to deliver it to you, gasping and red-faced, like a squalling newborn. Here she is – truth. Spank her lightly upon the rear, if you must! She breathes, for she is real. You will make what you will of her, as we all must.
Purchase Marine Park from Amazon.com. Or better yet, your local, independent tome hawker.