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Manhattan Noir 2: The Classics

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Classic reprints from: Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, O. Henry, Irwin Shaw, Jerome Weidman, Damon Runyon, Evan Hunter, Jerrold Mundis, Edgar Allan Poe, Horace Gregory, Geoffrey Bartholomew, Cornell Woolrich, Barry N. Malzberg, Clark Howard, Jerome Charyn, Donald E. Westlake, Joyce Carol Oates, Lawrence Block, Susan Isaacs, and others. Lawrence Block has won most of the major Classic reprints from: Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, O. Henry, Irwin Shaw, Jerome Weidman, Damon Runyon, Evan Hunter, Jerrold Mundis, Edgar Allan Poe, Horace Gregory, Geoffrey Bartholomew, Cornell Woolrich, Barry N. Malzberg, Clark Howard, Jerome Charyn, Donald E. Westlake, Joyce Carol Oates, Lawrence Block, Susan Isaacs, and others. Lawrence Block has won most of the major mystery awards and has been called the quintessential New York writer. His series characters—Matthew Scudder, Bernie Rhodenbarr, Evan Tanner, Chip Harrison, and Keller—all live in Manhattan; like their creator, they would not really be happy anywhere else.


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Classic reprints from: Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, O. Henry, Irwin Shaw, Jerome Weidman, Damon Runyon, Evan Hunter, Jerrold Mundis, Edgar Allan Poe, Horace Gregory, Geoffrey Bartholomew, Cornell Woolrich, Barry N. Malzberg, Clark Howard, Jerome Charyn, Donald E. Westlake, Joyce Carol Oates, Lawrence Block, Susan Isaacs, and others. Lawrence Block has won most of the major Classic reprints from: Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, O. Henry, Irwin Shaw, Jerome Weidman, Damon Runyon, Evan Hunter, Jerrold Mundis, Edgar Allan Poe, Horace Gregory, Geoffrey Bartholomew, Cornell Woolrich, Barry N. Malzberg, Clark Howard, Jerome Charyn, Donald E. Westlake, Joyce Carol Oates, Lawrence Block, Susan Isaacs, and others. Lawrence Block has won most of the major mystery awards and has been called the quintessential New York writer. His series characters—Matthew Scudder, Bernie Rhodenbarr, Evan Tanner, Chip Harrison, and Keller—all live in Manhattan; like their creator, they would not really be happy anywhere else.

30 review for Manhattan Noir 2: The Classics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Leonard

    Manhattan with its skyscrapers and rectangular grid and dark alleys and tenements makes a great setting for noir. This collection of stories from writers such as Edith Wharton and O. Henry to Joyce Carol Oates and Lawrence Block showcases a diverse set of intriguing and dark tales. And it even includes Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. An enjoyable series of stories. Manhattan Manhattan with its skyscrapers and rectangular grid and dark alleys and tenements makes a great setting for noir. This collection of stories from writers such as Edith Wharton and O. Henry to Joyce Carol Oates and Lawrence Block showcases a diverse set of intriguing and dark tales. And it even includes Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. An enjoyable series of stories. Manhattan

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    I think it is obvious I love the Akashic Noir series. I have pulled a few off my shelves from several years back to read again. The most recent one I have reread is Manhattan Noir 2: The Classics edited by Lawrence Block. He also edited the first Manhattan Noir. What makes the classics different from the regular releases in the series is that rather than asking contemporary authors to write new fiction for the anthology, Block mined the past, incorporating stories from Edith Wharton, Stephen Cra I think it is obvious I love the Akashic Noir series. I have pulled a few off my shelves from several years back to read again. The most recent one I have reread is Manhattan Noir 2: The Classics edited by Lawrence Block. He also edited the first Manhattan Noir. What makes the classics different from the regular releases in the series is that rather than asking contemporary authors to write new fiction for the anthology, Block mined the past, incorporating stories from Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, and even a poem from Edgar Allen Poe. As with all the Noir series, the stories take place in Manhattan though Poe’s The Raven may be a bit of a stretch since its location is not mentioned. However, it does take place in Poe’s writing study and he did live for a time in Manhattan, so Block lets it count. In fact, Block includes three poets in his collection. Among the authors are the classic short story stylist O’Henry and the always exceptional Joyce Carol Oates, there’s Stephen Crane cheek by jowl with Donald Westlake next to Susan Isaacs. That is what makes these anthologies so strong. Manhattan Noir 2: The Classics is another outstanding edition to the wonderful collection of noir short stories from Akashic Books. I did not love every story, of course. The story by Jerrold Mundis was the one I most disliked. It was well written, but it just made me unhappy. You know, sometimes people are just awful and even carefully crafted stories are made awful by the people in them. It would not have upset me so much if it were poorly done. You know, Christmas is coming and for your friends who are readers and mystery lovers, Akashic Noir books are an excellent gift. Short story anthologies with multiple authors are good gifts for readers. There’s always so many different writers, several are bound to please. ★★★★ http://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpres...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Craig Childs

    This 2008 short story anthology lives up to its predecessor and in some ways surpasses it. The original Manhattan Noir, also edited by Lawrence Block, contained previously unpublished stories from contemporary authors. This companion volume dubbed “The Classics” is just the opposite—noir stories from established writers that have stood the test of time (some over 100 years). In both volumes, each story is set in a different Manhattan neighborhood and must contain some element of “noir”—however t This 2008 short story anthology lives up to its predecessor and in some ways surpasses it. The original Manhattan Noir, also edited by Lawrence Block, contained previously unpublished stories from contemporary authors. This companion volume dubbed “The Classics” is just the opposite—noir stories from established writers that have stood the test of time (some over 100 years). In both volumes, each story is set in a different Manhattan neighborhood and must contain some element of “noir”—however the author or anthologist defines it. The results are illuminating. Reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” right next to an Evan Hunter street gang story, it took on an entirely different feel and tone than when I studied it high school 25 years ago. Reading “Spanish Blood” right after a Donald Westlake black comedy transforms Langston Hughes from Famous Black Author into something richer, more subversive, and more fun. Here are my individual reviews of each story: “Mrs. Manstey’s View” by Edith Wharton (1891) – This was the author’s first published short story, long before Ethan Frome and Age of Innocence. She might have taken a slightly different path and become a crime writer. “A Poker Game” by Stephen Crane (1902) – I struggled with this story about two poker players who both draw a straight flush with only four cards. How can this be? Everybody knows you need 5 cards to make a straight. Either the rules were different in 1902, or I somehow missed the point of the story. “The Furnished Room” by O. Henry (1906) – An overwritten but ultimately effective story about a homeless man searching for a lost love. Dark with the expected ironic ending. “Spanish Blood” by Langston Hughes (1934) – The first great story in the collection. In less than 10 pages, Hughes brings to life a vibrant multicultural Harlem during the Prohibition era. “Sailor off the Bremen” by Irwin Shaw (West Village, 1939)—On the surface this is just a simple revenge tale, but I loved the whole cultural milieu—a group of subservice American Communists protesting the rise of Nazi Fascism. “My Aunt from Twelfth Street” by Jerome Weidman (Alphabet City, 1939)—A haunting tale about immigrant culture that reminded me of Harlan Ellison’s “The Whimpering of Whipped Dogs”. This story feels incomplete because it never answers the fundamental question: Why does the Aunt from 12th Street refuse to leave 15th Street to live near her own people? “Johnny One-Eye” by Damon Runyon (Broadway, 1941)—A well-crafted tale of organized crime, domestic abuse, and one very unlucky cat. One of my favorites in this volume. “The Last Spin” by Evan Hunter (1956) – A taut, haunting melodrama about street gang members. The action takes place in a single room and is driven almost entirely through dialogue. “New York Blues” by Cornell Woolrich (East 37th Street, 1970)-Begins with one of the all-time great noir opening sentences: “It's six o'clock; my drink is at the three-quarter mark--three-quarters down, not three-quarters up--and the night begins.” Atomospheric; deliriously bleak; obsessive attention to detail so that each frame of each scene becomes a tableau of hopelessness. “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe (1845) – A classic poem, but I never saw the noir elements until I read it in this context. Selections from Chelsea Rooming House by Horace Gregory (1930) – Each poem is narrated by a different tenant at a low-end boarding house. Selections from The McSorley Poems by Geoffrey Bartholomew (East Village, 2001)—Each poem concerns a different character tied to the famous New York ale house. Written by the man who tended bar there for over 40 years. “The Luger Is a 9mm Automatic Handgun with a Parabellum Action” by Jerrold Mundis (Central Park, 1969)—An experimental story about a man who has long philosophical conversations with his dog. I think the author was trying to make a point about the perils of trying to repress basic human nature, dark as it is. Much of the dialog seemed to echo rhetoric from the 1960’s civil rights movement. “The Interceptor” by Barry N. Malzberg (Upper West Side, 1972)—A non-linear story in which an unreliable narrator comes up with different solutions to the same murder. “Crowded Lives” by Clark Howard (Sixth Avenue, 1989)—An ex-convict takes a maintenance job at a welfare hotel but has ulterior motives. The plot was trite, but I enjoyed the depiction of a once grand hotel fallen on hard times. “Young Isaac” by Jerome Charyn (Lower East Side, 1990)—A prequel to the author’s popular series about policeman-turned-mayor Isaac Sidel. This story explores how the young protagonist narrowly avoided a life of crime. “Love in the Lean Years” by Donald E. Westlake (1992) – Black comedy about Wall Street during the bust years. Brings out the humor in drugs, greed, sex, and murder. “A Manhattan Romance” by Joyce Carol Oates (Central Park South, 1997)—An expertly crafted short story about one girl’s final day with her father. Another favorite: Haunting and memorable. “In for a Penny” by Lawrence Block (Eighth Avenue, 1999)—An ex-con struggles with addiction and temptation on his nightly walks past an open bar. An ok tale, but not close to Block’s best efforts. “Two Over Easy” by Susan Isaacs (Murray Hill, 2008)—A man finds himself in a life-and-death struggle with his wife on his 49th birthday. Funny and dark. I have never read this author, but after this story, I am putting her on my to-read list.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    I preferred the earlier classic stories from the 1930s to 50s, but all were enjoyable in a bleak way. There are some great ironic twists. I enjoyed the inclusion of Poe's Raven which I've never read in full before. I preferred the earlier classic stories from the 1930s to 50s, but all were enjoyable in a bleak way. There are some great ironic twists. I enjoyed the inclusion of Poe's Raven which I've never read in full before.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mommalibrarian

    At least the pain is over quickly. The longest of these sketchlike short stories is only 16 pages. All are well written. Some are clever. All end badly. The relationship to Manhattan is not particularly interesting. In my opinion any big city name could have been used.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nihal Vrana

    This Noir series is a brilliant idea; particularly you get the right editor. The "2" versions where the Editor search historical stories are particularly interesting. Lawrance Block put together an excellent story collection (and he can be completely excused to put one of his own; as he is a brilliant noir writer) which is well balanced and full of gems. the one that stands out is Damon Runyon's which was hands-down which of the best-constructed stories I have ever read in any genre. The book al This Noir series is a brilliant idea; particularly you get the right editor. The "2" versions where the Editor search historical stories are particularly interesting. Lawrance Block put together an excellent story collection (and he can be completely excused to put one of his own; as he is a brilliant noir writer) which is well balanced and full of gems. the one that stands out is Damon Runyon's which was hands-down which of the best-constructed stories I have ever read in any genre. The book also reminded me of The Raven's genius; although the other two sets of poems did not talk to me at all (but I appreciated the idea of putting in poems). My next one will be Boston Noir 2, I'm looking forward to it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marc

    Most of the stories and poetry were dull with the exception of a couple: Mrs. Mantsey's View (Edith Wharton), The Furnished Room (O. Henry) was creepy, New York Blues (Cornell Woolrich) was great until the end, Crowded Lives (Clark Howard). Most of the stories and poetry were dull with the exception of a couple: Mrs. Mantsey's View (Edith Wharton), The Furnished Room (O. Henry) was creepy, New York Blues (Cornell Woolrich) was great until the end, Crowded Lives (Clark Howard).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gerald

    Top notch collection. Discovered some new to me authors who I will be digging deeper into.

  9. 5 out of 5

    J.

    Boarding houses, by-the-week rentals, rooms for hire with tatty furnishings -- all make for excellent noir backdrops. Especially in the amorphous fictional manhattans of the thirties and forties, where the City was just one big tough racket, and no holiday for shoe leather... Where somewhere down the block is a joint with a bedraggled barstool or two, just waiting for the right customer, and on the avenue, an all-night diner where coffee comes without anybody asking. No location, though, is as p Boarding houses, by-the-week rentals, rooms for hire with tatty furnishings -- all make for excellent noir backdrops. Especially in the amorphous fictional manhattans of the thirties and forties, where the City was just one big tough racket, and no holiday for shoe leather... Where somewhere down the block is a joint with a bedraggled barstool or two, just waiting for the right customer, and on the avenue, an all-night diner where coffee comes without anybody asking. No location, though, is as perfectly framed as are the once-grand Hotels, not quite seedy yet, but too unkempt, too large and anonymous, to rate with the polite trade any longer. Editor Block manages to include a few desolate tales that find their background in the enormous old New York hotels; banal, colorless hi-rise cities in themselves, they can offer any dodgy character his own room and bath, any narrative a home. And as with mysteries where identities shift or intentions are hidden, the citizenry of the large hotels --from room-service to regular guest to house detective-- offers a broad and asymmetrical cast, numerous possibilities. More than half of this compilation is just what you want from a noir story, and in particular the stories from Cornell Woolrich, O. Henry, Barry Malzberg & Clark Howard are rivetting examples of the form. It has to be said that many of these men were themselves living dodgy careers, writing for the pulps for a few cents a word; listen and you can hear the lean & threadbare quality in their voices. (Though as with any anthology, some don't fit, including the poems (?) and it's going to be hard to make the case that a 2008 story belongs in a 'classics' collection that is itself published in 2008, but that's not important.) What's important is the works that nail it, in terms of atmosphere, character, dread & desperation--- and then hammer home the narrative itself just as nimbly... And many of these do. "Now the incoming tide rolls in; the hours abruptly switch back to single digits again, and it's a little like the time you put your watch back on entering a different time zone. Now the busses knock off and the subway expresses turn into locals, and the locals space themseleves far apart... There's a sudden splurge, a slew of taxis arriving at the hotel entrance one by one as regularly as though they were on a conveyor belt, emptying out and then going away again. Then this too dies down, and a deep still sets in. It's an around-the-clock town, but this is the stretch; from now until the garbage-grinding trucks come along and tear the dawn to shreds, it gets as quiet as it's ever going to get. This is the deep of the night, the dregs, the sediment at the bottom of the coffee cup ... " New York City Blues, Cornell Woolrich

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    I started this one when I left "Over a Torrent Sea" at work. Read the first 5 stories but none really grabbed me. The most recent of the stories was originally published in 1939 and that may have had something to do with it. But they were written by O. Henry, Irwin Shaw and other good writers so they deserved to be read. p. 73 I started this one when I left "Over a Torrent Sea" at work. Read the first 5 stories but none really grabbed me. The most recent of the stories was originally published in 1939 and that may have had something to do with it. But they were written by O. Henry, Irwin Shaw and other good writers so they deserved to be read. p. 73

  11. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

    Good collection of short stories and writers. I really appreciated the older pieces from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The city-based series of noir writing is excellent, highly recommend the DC Noir and Detroit Noir entries. Looking forward to reading the Buffalo Noir collection as well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pushpak Karnick

    Please find my review at http://echoes-empty-mind.blogspot.com... Please find my review at http://echoes-empty-mind.blogspot.com...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan Wical Baughman

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Peace

  16. 4 out of 5

    Terry

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joe Ruiz

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh

  19. 5 out of 5

    Calvin

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shalonne Plummer

  21. 4 out of 5

    John Hilton

  22. 5 out of 5

    M. Newman

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  24. 4 out of 5

    George Winslow

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hnmestel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Severance

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lorelei DeMesa

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

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