The Brooklyn Novels
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These three novels of the 1930s constitute an American classic. In their own way, they do for the Jewish immigrants of Brooklyn what Studs Lonigan did for the Irish of Chicago. So it is no surprise that, upon their first publication, Lonigan's creator welcomed them in a review for The Nation, praising Fuchs's keen eye, excellent ear for dialogue, and quick perception of the grotesque, the whimsical, the tragic. "I know of few novelists in America today," James T. Farrell said, "who possess Fuchs's natural talent and energy or his sense of life."

In his 80s Fuchs wrote: "I used to go on long walks . . . take in the street sights at night. I freely used the sights and happenings in the three novels I wrote in my 20s: Summer in Williamsburg (1934), Homage to Blenholt (1936), and Low Company (1937). . .I had 'ideas' for each of these books, but I soon tired of them, ideas being -- for me, at any rate -- unsatisfactory. I abandoned them. . .and devoted myself simply to the tenement: the life in the hallways, the commotion at the dumbwaiters, the assortment of characters in the building, their strivings and preoccupations, their troubles in the interplay of the sexes. There was always a ferment, slums or no slums. The slums didn't hold them down."

Time hasn't held down these novels, either. Like Joseph Mitchell's New York sketches of the same period, they are as alive today as the day they were first printed, as tropical-rainforest lush, as exuberant. What's true remains so, and Farrell spoke the truth back in 1937: there are still few novelists in America today who possess Fuchs's talent, his energy, his sense of life.
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    • Nov-2006
    • Black Sparrow Press
    • Trade Paperback
    • ISBN: 157423210X
    • ISBN13: 9781574232103
    • Nov-2006
    • Black Sparrow Press
    • Hardcover
    • ISBN: 1574232118
    • ISBN13: 9781574232110

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