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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.