Kamby Bolongo Mean River named one of 25 Important Books of the 2000s by HTML Giant

KBMR was named one of 25 Important Books of the decade by HTML Giant. And was a Page One selection of New & Noteworthy Books by Poets & Writers Magazine.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - John Domini

No news today, certainly not when I’ve wasted its entire evening in one of the many, many manifestations of that early-21st-Century American phenomenon, the wine bar. Rarely has killing time been so elegantly disguised. I doubt the wits of the Algonquin Round Table, whiling away the hours over gin and blather, kidded themselves that they were somehow gaining in refinement as they grew more swozzled. I doubt Dorothy Parker would treat the word “terroir” with any more respect than she accorded the others she so brilliantly spun into pun. Today’s bar happens to be in the Algonquin’s Manhattan, but it could be in any of the instant-yuppie pockets one tumbles into across the country: off State St. in Madison, WI, along the Alberta corridor of Portland, OR, on the square in Oxford, MS.... Then there are the sort-of-small plates, eats that extend the delusion, allowing an idler to believe he’s not shoveling on the calories. Yes, these grilled dates, stuffed with ricotta and wrapped in thick local bacon — a better match for the Aglianico, wouldn’t you say? I’m developing such sophistication just sitting here, I can taste how this bacon was free-range; I know it attended the college of its choice. Yet neither the drinks nor the food’s the defining anomaly of such places (anomaly, or travesty, or what the fuck). Their earmark is an earworm, an unrelenting soundtrack of bebop jazz. Monk and Miles and Mingus, that M-erald forest with roots and branches that extend everywhere from this same small island’s E. 52nd St.: it’s their vibrant and exploratory riffs and slurs and roundings that float down, unendingly, from the speakers in such places. It’s the same attack on straightforward melody and rhythm that half a century or so ago challenged a clubgoer, asking him to experience melody and changes in new ways, to reinvent musical satisfaction. To call such an artist “easy listening,” whew, that would've invited gunplay. But that’s just what Monk’s “’Round Midnight” or Miles’ “So What” has become, these days, down in your thronging local wine bar. History has sprung a hellacious surprise, on these crazy cats; it’s turned them to fat and lazy tabbies.

But then again, who am I to play the Old Curmudgeon? To sit and cry crocodile tears for a former cutting edge turned to taffy? Who’s more willing than I to kill first Happy Hour and then dinner and then as long as it takes in a well-stocked wine bar, gabbing across a scrumptious sampler plate while Dexter Gordon’s Ballads cycle through on shuffle? Yes, the pesto bruschetta, please, with parmesan. And now seems a good time for that Falanghina, yes. And — indulge me here, oh, indulge me — do you have Miles and Cannonball doing “Autumn Leaves?”

The Emerging Writers Network called John Domini's novels from '07 and '08, Earthquake I.D. and A Tomb on the Periphery, "back-to-back stunners." Tomb on the Periphery also made the '09 short list at the London Book Festival for "the best of international publishing," and Earthquake I.D., in Italian translation, was runner-up for the Domenico Rea prize. He extends a warm and wine-rich welcome to anyone stopping by Des Moines.

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