Friday, November 15, 2013
Review of Outerborough Blues by Andrew Cotto (Ig Publishing, 2012)
The strength of Outerborough Blues is its strong sense of place, deeply fleshed out characterisation, social realism, and its poetic narrative. It’s a kind of literary urban noir, full of subtext and allusion. Caesar Stiles is a compelling character with a colourful back story that is metered out over the course of the tale, and is surrounded by other well penned and distinctive characters. Cotto vividly places the reader in Stiles world, especially the landscape of gentrifying Brooklyn, and its oddities, rhythms and gatherings. The prose is wonderfully rich and engaging. The plot, for the most part works well, though it becomes a little complex and confusing at points as Cotto intertwines a number of different threads. This does not though detract the pleasure in reading the book, however. Overall an evocative and thoughtful story about trauma, home and finding oneself.