Florry of Washington Heights

Steve Katz, Author Sun and Moon Press $15.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-940650-83-1
A nostalgic, precisely depicted throwback to a kind of old-fashioned autobiographical novel, this urban saga by the author of Wier & Pouce is set in the mid-Depression years and enacted by its adolescent characters in the old neighborhood of Washington Heights, within view of the great bridge. Fred Sugarman, star shortstop of the Bullets A & S, loves Florry O'Neill, and she, formerly the ""steady girl'' of vicious Jack Ryan, warlord of the Fanwoods, loves him. Trouble looms large: for each the other is forbidden fruit. Of the war zone's distinct ethnic groups Irish, Jewish, Italianthings do not go happily for the first two, either in sports or in affairs of the heart. The narrator, William Swanson, son of a Jewish mother and Irish father, a tinker by trade, a gypsy by blood, a poet by calling, is a member of the Bullets. But he is no warrior; he is a navigator of the universal rites of passage, recalling in exhaustive detail how things were when childhood ended. Sex clamors in the blood; baseball tests manhood; the boys hang out at the corner store, talking big and dirty. Their interior life is scarcely delineated and while the visible life is reported with high fidelity, there is always the nagging sense that we have been here before, on countless sentimental journeys through those dangerous streets. Katz, however, knows every pavement and every face in the windows of his old haunts. (June 20)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1986
Release date: 12/01/1986
Paperback - 978-0-940650-84-8
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