4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo!
Loisaida takes us to New York's Lower East Side in the late 1980s. It is in essence a murder mystery (based on a real-life murder), but there's so much more to it than that.
There are more characters than you would easily remember, except that they're so wonderfully drawn that you remember them all. Each has his or her utterly distinctive voice. All are given...
Published 24 months ago by MoonMan
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-complicated, but an okay read
I found this book a little over-complicated in terms of the number of characters and the constant switches from first to third person. I almost gave up on it part way through but persevered to a disappointing and (to me) illogical ending. I can't say more in that regard as I don't want to spoil the end for anyone else. As I said in my title, it's an okay read.
Published 22 months ago by P. Evans
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo!,
This review is from: Loisaida -- A New York Story (Kindle Edition)Loisaida takes us to New York's Lower East Side in the late 1980s. It is in essence a murder mystery (based on a real-life murder), but there's so much more to it than that.
There are more characters than you would easily remember, except that they're so wonderfully drawn that you remember them all. Each has his or her utterly distinctive voice. All are given their due, and all contribute meaningfully to the whole. I've never seen a novelist weave more convincingly.
But the main protagonist is, as you might expect, the title character. "Loisaida" is derived from the Latino pronunciation of "Lower East Side", and the name is carefully chosen. Marion Stein wants to distance us not only from today's Lower East Side, but even from the Lower East Side "known" to outsiders back in the eighties. She wants us to be there. Then.
The whole area has recently moved upmarket, but back in the eighties it was home to the dispossessed and the rootless, to immigrants and junkies. Bohemian at the edges, poor throughout, it was awash with drugs. This is Marion Stein's Lower East Side, and it lives and breathes again in her extraordinary novel.
If Loisaida does not become at least a cult classic, there's something wrong somewhere.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cult classic in the making,
This review is from: Loisaida -- A New York Story (Kindle Edition)In a moment, I'm going to say a couple of things about this book that you may or may not believe. It doesn't matter. I'm going to say them anyway because I'm convinced they are true. We'll get to that though...
I initially bought this book as a present for someone else. I had no intention of reading it because I thought it was simply a bargain price thriller. Having poked around the Amazon forums for a few months, however, I started to see references to Loisaida which made me think that, actually, there was more to the book than I'd initially assumed. So eventually I gave it go. I read the first couple of chapters and thought I'd maybe misjudged as it came across as a well written, but rather straightforward crime story. However, I then hit chapter three and suddenly it opened out into this unbelievable range of voices, a cast of characters so authentic and distinct from each other that it is hard to believe they were all conceived and written by the same person. There are artisans, junkies, ex-cons, and amidst them all a TV actor trying to become a journalist and searching for his breakthrough story on the lower East side.
There are a lot of characters and you will have to make some effort in keeping up, but believe me when I say it's worth that effort. In the hands of a lesser writer the different voices would have been in danger of becoming a cacophony, but Marion Stein manages to make them harmonise, with narrative overlaps that never leave you wondering what's going on. The New York on display here is reminiscent of that of Arthur Nersesian, Jay McInerney, Hubert Selby Jr. It's rich and evocative and gripping.
Ok, here's my bombshell. I mentioned a couple of authors above. On the evidence of this book, I think Marion Stein is certainly as good as, if not better, than all of them. I know that's a big claim when you consider I mentioned Hubert Selby, but I stand by it. All I can say is I enjoyed this book more than 'Last Exit to Brooklyn', I enjoyed it more than 'Song of the Silent Snow'. There was a vibrancy to the characters in this novel that, in my opinion, Selby never quite matches. I would go so far as to say that if this book had been written twenty years ago, it would now be talked of as a cult classic. It is truly, truly stunning. As I said, you might not believe me, in which case I suggest you try the book and then come back and attempt to tell me why I'm wrong. I'm willing to bet you won't convince me. A tremendous piece of work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loisaida Review,
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This review is from: Loisaida -- A New York Story (Kindle Edition)A great book - and I don't mean a great, self-published cheap Kindle book, I mean a great book full-stop. The story is told from multiple perspectives and points of view, and the author has total control over all these voices. The subtitle, "A New York Story" is perfect, because the multiple voices seem like a chorus for the city. Because of these shifts in view point, the book seems initially slightly scrappy, and all over the place, but careful reading reveals every section has a part to play.
The plot itself is strong too, and full of drugs, death, and sex. There's some genuine harrowing and moving scenes, and strong character development (if that's the right word for some of these character's fates).
Recommended if you like edgy literary fiction.
5.0 out of 5 stars City of the Lost,
This review is from: Loisaida -- A New York Story (Kindle Edition)This stunning novel could also be titled City of the Lost as there is not a single character in it who is not lost in some way. Marion's background as an oral storyteller shines through in the voice of each character as they tell their own stories, and in the voice of the city of which they are all a part. In a way, this novel is a loving portrait of a place -- New York's lower east side -- and a time -- the 1980s, before the influx of yuppies and the advent of the internet. It is a masterful mosaic painted from the full spectrum of the human psyche.
Marion has full mastery of all of the literary techniques of the Twentieth century -- modernist, post-modernist, beat, punk. And here she unobtrusively applies all of these techniques to achieve her goals, elevating the noir thriller to an art form, revealing the depth of human frailty and self-conceit, and above all painting the mural of an urban region as diverse as it is dirty.
You'll be picking the grit out of your teeth for a long time after reading this one. And you will find yourself unable to put it down, unless it is to applaud the author on a job well done.
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-complicated, but an okay read,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Loisaida -- A New York Story (Kindle Edition)I found this book a little over-complicated in terms of the number of characters and the constant switches from first to third person. I almost gave up on it part way through but persevered to a disappointing and (to me) illogical ending. I can't say more in that regard as I don't want to spoil the end for anyone else. As I said in my title, it's an okay read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loisaida,
This review is from: Loisaida -- A New York Story (Kindle Edition)"Loisaida" can be viewed two ways. As a work of literary or general fiction, which was the authors intent, or as a mystery.
As a work of literary or general fiction, "Loisaida" is excellent. Written from the point of view of different characters and constantly switching from one character to another is an approach that can be difficult for the reader to follow, but I didn't find this to be a problem because Stein's characters are finely drawn when first introduced. Despite having a large cast, keeping track of the current point of view and how each character connects with the others was rather easy. Although this approach is hard to execute well, Stein did just that. The characters, their stories, and the flavor of the place and time were entertaining and held my interest.
As the story progresses one person emerges as the central character. Peter, an actor turned journalist sees a possible book deal if he can uncover the full story behind the murder and dismemberment of Ingrid, an aspiring dancer. The mentally unstable suspect in custody was almost certainly involved, but rumors that indicate others were involved swirl around. The mystery of who was involved in Ingrid's murder and exactly what happened ties most of the characters together. While there are other significant plot threads, solving the murder was the most significant.
It is the mystery, central to the plot, where evaluating "Loisaida" gets tricky. Avoiding spoilers while explaining is also difficult. The book description doesn't imply you're reading a mystery. Yet, to the reader, there is a point where it will begin feeling like a mystery. How the story ends and the way the mystery is resolved may be disconcerting for some readers. It was for me. Yet, there is nothing inherently wrong with the ending. Given the story arc, it is more realistic than the ending you might anticipate. That my preconceptions were shaken up when the story took an unexpected turn was a good thing. Understanding why the ending felt wrong ... well, that was tricky.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog.**
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Read,
This review is from: Loisaida -- A New York Story (Kindle Edition)This was one of the first books I read on my new kindle and I thought it was a cracking read. I could feel the heat of the City, the desperation and hope of the characters. For the time it took to read this I lived in another world. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a good read and be transported into world and lives of others. I will see what else is available by this author.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkably assured thriller.,
This review is from: Loisaida -- A New York Story (Kindle Edition)Marion Stein first caught my eye a year ago, on a writer's website. I'm delighted to see her wonderful novel of New York's Lower East Side is now available on Kindle.
Stein is a consummate stylist with an enviable command of structure. Her technical skills allow the reader to experience multiple points of view without any risk of confusion, an exceptional feat.
Based on reality the story may be, but for me the most intriguing aspect of the novel was the manner in which the cleverly portrayed location becomes a viable character in its own right. There are sumptuous descriptive passages scattered around, realistic dialogue and a masterclass in characterisation.
Add an inventive and striking cover, a bargain price point, and you have a real winner. One of the best examples of the genre I've read in quite a while and highly commended.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Multilayered and fascinating,
This review is from: Loisaida -- A New York Story (Kindle Edition)I finally got a Kindle for Christmas, which gave me the chance to read Marion Stein's wonderful novel in a format it deserves, rather than reading it on a computer screen.
Marion's narrative voice is so strong and gripping that, once in this story, I had to finish reading it as soon as possible to be able to emerge from the world she has created. The story doesn't fascinate merely because it's a mystery slash thriller, but because the characters Marion has created to people her world are so riveting and intriguing, though not always lovable.
Without giving away too much of the plot, there is one particular character who is almost a deus ex machina, and who represents all that is good in the world, and who shows us that being down is not being down forever, and that redemption is possible for all of us.
I don't know New York at all, being an English country boy, and this book made me feel, physically, the claustrophobia and tension of a New York summer, the perverse guilts and pleasures of junkies, the brightness of hope and love.
Read this book.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and fascinating,
This review is from: Loisaida -- A New York Story (Kindle Edition)I bought Loisaida on someone's recommendation and was very glad I did.
It's both a fascinating portrait of a time and a place, and a gripping story from multiple characters' interlinking lives and points of view. Very engaging. Through her talent for description, Marion has created a range of very different characters, all richly fleshed out. My only criticism is there are almost too many characters to follow, and it takes a little while to really get a feel for who's who. But not very long. The story sweeps you along throughout, and it's ultimately richer because of the different points of view.
For somewhere I've never been, I now feel I know the place. Recommended.
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Loisaida -- A New York Story by Marion Stein