Thursday, July 27, 2006

A literary guide to Brooklyn

Phillip Lopate, born and reared and now residing in Brooklyn, is the author of Salon's literary guide to Brooklyn.

"The place to start reading [Brooklyn's literature] is Betty Smith's 1943 novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," writes Lopate.

This story of young Francie Nolan, growing up with her family in Williamsburg, is saturated with the routines of daily life in an immigrant ghetto; it bridges the gap between bestseller and literary classic, largely because it is so affecting that it cannot help but win over readers of every age.


Another superb novel about a young girl growing up in a poor, striving family, this time West Indian blacks, is Paule Marshall's Brown Girl, Brownstones.

Among more recent Brooklyn novels, Lopate mentions Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn (1999) and The Fortress of Solitude (2003).

Many other novels of note are mentioned in Lopate's essay: click here to read the entire article.

Lopate mentions some of the same novels listed by the Brooklynite Friend of the Blog in our item on The Great New York City Novel.

Paule Marshall's Brown Girl, Brownstones was discussed on the blog a few months ago: click here to read that item.

Click here to read an earlier post on a literary guide to Miami.

--Marshal Zeringue