Thursday, February 11, 2010

Richmond Noir: Andrew Slept Here

If you've read this blog more than once, you're undoubtedly noticed I'm very into two things: writing and Richmond.

So the publication of a new anthology of local writers called 'Richmond Noir" had me from the first announcement.

Tapping fifteen diverse local writers, each of whom celebrated a different Richmond neighborhood and produced a short story in the noir vein, the editors have compiled a love letter to rva's hard-bitten side.

That means hard-boiled characters, evocative moods, desperate situations and any of the multitude of variations that have developed in that genre in the past 50 years.

"Richmond Noir" is part of a series, begun with "Brooklyn Noir," and was three years in the making. Today at the Library of Virginia,editors Andrew Blossom, Brian Castleberry and Tom De Haven talked about the project before readings by four of the writers.

I was pleased that we got to hear writer Megan Saunders share her Jackson Ward tale of drugs and jazz at the Hippodrome.

Interestingly, Dennis Danvers' story of Texas Beach was part noir, part 21st-century topical. All the excerpts we heard sounded worthy of a full read.

The writers got to pick the neighborhood they wrote about, so many neighborhoods are included in the book: Hollywood Cemetery, of course, Manchester, the East End, Oregon Hill, the West End, the Museum District, all the obvious choices except the Fan. But then, how noir-like is the Fan, really?

 Just saying.

One other thing had attracted me to this project and that was editor Andrew Blossom. Andrew was the prior long-time occupant of the apartment in which I now live.

When I moved here in March, my landlord bragged that a really talented writer lived here before me.

Since then, we have run into each other repeatedly, at parties, shows and, of course, at Chop Suey where he works.

We share anecdotes about the charm and unusual qualities of a space we both know well.

Not that I'm bragging, but just so you know, Andrew slept here first.

That's what I want him to inscribe in my copy of "Richmond Noir."

I can only hope that his talent with words has rubbed off on me as a result.


  1. I read that title and thought you were talking about me. That got me to thinking of places I had fallen asleep in this city. The list is not pretty.

  2. If I'd led you upstairs after we got back from the Raveonette's show, I bet you'd have fallen asleep here. You could do a lot worse. Hell, I guess you're saying you already have!

  3. Can you tell me more about where to find Richmond Noir? Is this a published book? I'm reading Brooklyn Noir right now and would really like to have a Richmond version!

  4. The Library of VA shop carries it and, of course, Chop Suey.
    Given how much we seem to have in common, I'm not at all surprised that you're as interested in this book as I am! Someday we have to meet and talk.