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Author: Madison Smartt Bell
ISBN13: 978-0670750054
Title: The Washington Square Ensemble
Format: rtf mobi lrf mbr
ePUB size: 1393 kb
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Language: English
Publisher: The Viking Press; 1st edition (February 24, 1983)
Pages: 342

The Washington Square Ensemble by Madison Smartt Bell

The Washington Square ensemble. by Bell, Madison Smartt. Publication date 1984. Publisher New York : Penguin Books. Collection inlibrary; printdisabled; ; americana. Digitizing sponsor Internet Archive. Contributor Internet Archive. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books. Uploaded by MerciG on August 26, 2010.

A native of Tennessee, Bell moved to New York City and set this novel among lowlifes in lower Manhattan. The Washington Square Ensemble Hardcover – February 24, 1983. by. Madison Smartt Bell (Author). Find all the books, read about the author, and more. Are you an author? Learn about Author Central. Madison Smartt Bell is the author of two collections of stories and nine novels, including All Souls' Rising, which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Best American Fiction.

by Madison Smartt Bell. Seven men tell their stories of survival on the streets of 1980s New York City in this gritty debut novel by the National Book Award–finalist. Like most New Yorkers, Johnny B. Goode hustles to make a living. His beat happens to be pharmaceutical distribution. His place of business, Washington Square Park. Over the course of one weekend, he and his crew of retailers sell their product to students, businessmen, tourists, drifters, and lowlifes, while evading the law and outmaneuvering the competition. The most exotic bunch of sweet characters since some of Jack Kerouac’s ‘holy angels’ first came alive in print. Los Angeles Herald Examiner.

Madison Smartt Bell (born August 1, 1957 Nashville, Tennessee) is an American novelist. He is known for his trilogy of novels about Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution, published 1995–2004. Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Madison Smartt Bell lived in New York City, and London before settling in Baltimore, Maryland.

Madison Smartt Bell’s debut novel: a story of drifters, outcasts, junkies, and dealers surviving in the heart of 1980s New York City Over one busy weekend, small-time heroin dealer Johnny B. Goode and his alliance of fellow pushers work their trade amidst students, businessmen, and assorted sewer rats while avoiding the law. Narrated from the separate perspectives of each member of the gang, The Washington Square Ensemble follows the twisted paths that have led the seven men through the gritty New York underworld and towards a fragile alliance at Washington Square. Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks . 1 or later and iOS . 3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks . or later and OS X 1. or later.

The Washington Square Ensemble Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections: Characters. This detailed literature summary also contains Related Titles on The Washington Square Ensemble by Madison Smartt Bell. The storytelling stone functions as an instrument to reveal the inner strengths and weaknesses of the characters and to direct the course of the action

Madison Smartt Bell's debut novel: a story of drifters, outcasts, junkies, and dealers surviving in the heart of 1980s New York City Over one busy weekend,. A native of Tennessee, Bell moved to New York City and set this novel among lowlifes in lower Manhattan. ISBN13: 9780670750054.

Bell’s first novel starts off the way he meant to continue – with stories of junkies, prostitutes and similar people, in this case hovering around New York’s Washington Square. The main character is a drug dealer wittily called Johnny B. Goode (his real name is Enrico Spaghetti or something like that) but he uses the pseudonym Johnny B. Goode because he loves black people and their music and money but also because when the drugs police come looking for Johnny B. Goode they are not looking for a white Italian. And, as with many of his later characters, they are looking for God in their own, often unique, way. Violence, of course, occurs with a group of Rastafarians and music and a sort of camaraderie amongst the group which sort of carries them through but the whole book sets the themes for Bell’s later novels. First published 1983 by Viking.

342 p. ;, 23 cm. Download The Washington Square ensemble Madison Smartt Bell. On this site it is impossible to download the book, read the book online or get the contents of a book. The administration of the site is not responsible for the content of the site. The data of catalog based on open source database. All rights are reserved by their owners. Download book The Washington Square ensemble, Madison Smartt Bell.

Bell's first book. A native of Tennessee, Bell moved to New York City and set this novel among lowlifes in lower Manhattan.
Reviews: 3
The Washington Square Ensemble starts with a few lyrics of a Tom Waits song but the novel is like an extended version of Tom Waits, a story of downtrodden life on the streets, of mislaid hopes and shattered dreams. The sections narrated by the central character, Johnny B., read like a prose version of beat poetry spoken with Waits' gravelly voice. There are, unfortunately, too few of those sections. If the entire book had been written in Johnny B.'s voice, it would have been a more successful venture. Still, Madison Smartt Bell's first novel provides an enjoyable glimpse of the writing ability that he refined later in his career.

The titular ensemble consists of several sketchy characters. Johnny B. Goode, a/k/a Gianni Dellacroce, a/k/a Enrico Spaghetti, is a drug dealer in New York City's Washington Square. His ex-friend Porco Miserio is an alcoholic musician and scam artist who recently acquired a Storytelling Stone. The other characters sell drugs for Johnny. Yusuf Ali is Johnny's muscle. Despite his drug dealing, Yusuf is trying to be a devout Muslim, a delicate balancing act made necessary by his belief that he must live in the world he can see, not in the realm of spirituality. Santa Barbara is a Puerto Rican who practices Santería. Holy Mother is an ex-con, a former mob member and current addict.

The novel is structured as a series of short chapters, each narrated by one of the central characters. Bell reveals each character piece by piece, building them into whole men, gritty and sad, by the end of part one. While Bell deserves credit for giving each character a distinctive voice, I wasn't always convinced that the voice was authentic. Santa Barbara, for instance, sounds more like a caricature of a Puerto Rican than an actual Puerto Rican, particularly not one who came to the United States at the age of five. I had a similar reaction to Yusuf, whose voice struck me as artificial, the voice of a cartoon Muslim.

Uneven storytelling is the other significant flaw in The Washington Square Ensemble. I was fascinated by Holy Mother's story, including his life in the mob and his accidental involvement in the 1971 Attica prison riot. Porco's story is almost as good; his attempts at philosophy add welcome humor to the darkness. The stories told by the other characters are less interesting.

About halfway in, the characters' backgrounds having been established, a plot begins to take shape. My affinity for all the characters (whether I believed them or not) grew as the story progressed. The plot -- and there isn't much of one -- has an unfortunate tendency to meander before fizzling out altogether. I thought more might be made of the Storytelling Stone, or of Santa Barbara's Santería, but the talking rock is just a device to get the story moving and Santa's witchcraft merely furnishes an excuse for an amusing examination of comparative religion.

Fortunately, rooted beneath the seemingly random events that occur during the course of the novel is a story of friendship. Even when they don't want to, even when they're not supposed to, even when there's no profit in it, the characters care about each other, help each other. Bell makes the oft-forgotten point that even the lowliest members of society, even those who live beyond the bounds of society, need (and are made better by) friends. Friendship is the plot thread (thin though it may be) that redeems the novel -- friendship and humor and enough solid writing to make the reading experience worthwhile.
Bell's first novel is a quasi-phantasmagorical journey with a band of weird heroin dealers in Manhattan circa 1980. The story (such as it is) is, takes place over the a weekend, and is told in alternating chapters through the voices of seven characters. Through flashback chapters, we are given the backstories of this wretched band of pushermen. Their leader is Johnny B. Goode, who survived New York's internal Mafia wars of the '60s and '70s, and now finds himself quietly building a tidy little nest egg through his gang's Washington Park concession. His right hand man is Holy Mother, and their friendship dates back to the Mafia days, when the latter was a no-questions-asked, stone-cold hitman for the mob. However, he was incarcerated and found himself caught in the middle of the famous Attica prison riot on 1971, and hasn't been the same since. Joining the two ex-Mafia in the heroin trade are two religious weirdoes. Yusuf Ali is a huge black man from the Bronx, who was orphaned and raised himself in a basement of rats before discovering Islam. Santa Barbara is a loco PR, deep into santeria and generally off in his own world. On their periphery is Porco Miserio, a down and out saxophonist who had been part of the group and is now in exile.

The book begins with a night of dealing which ends in a bizarre encounter with Porco, who wields a strange stone of seemingly magical power. After a heart-warming scene in a diner where the dealers wind up the night and divvy up the proceeds, they split up. The book then takes on the tone of a dark comedy flirting with absurdism. Weird stuff happens. Strange conversations take place. Scripture is recited. A cop is told about their dealing. Someone ODs. A saxophone is played. Part two of the book occupied the final third of the book and takes place the next morning, and revolves around the policeman's attempt to take the gang down. The climax involves an epic battle pitting nunchucks against a group of Rasta soccer players in the middle of the park.

This probably makes the book sound pretty wacky and out there. In one sense it is, but without the vivid sense of discovery one hopes for in such works. The NYC scene is kind of interesting, but the ramblings of Santa Barbara and Yusuf Ali bring things to a dead halt whenever they appear. And the mystery of the stone ends up being a touch too cryptic. Ironically, the most gripping part of the book is also the most straightforward, and that's a twenty page chapter in which Holy Mother recounts his Attica experience. That's something that's been more or less forgotten some three decades later, and the fictional retelling is fascinating. Would that the rest of the book were equally so. Bell does some nice things with wordplay and language, but on the whole, it's skipable unless one had a particular interest in fiction about New York.
I don't often take the route of audiobooks, but I'm glad I chose to listen to this one rather than read it. The story is told from several different perspectives and the narrator, John Concado, does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. The story jumps between first person experiences from five different characters and each of these has their own distinct voice. The minute you hear the narration you know which story line is being followed. He does a great job of lifting the personalities off the page through emotional and realistic interpretations of what these men are going through and how they might sound based on their backgrounds, culture, etc. I can't imagine listening to this story without that element, as it would likely get very confusing, very quickly. The story could easily lend itself to film and I wouldn't be surprised if it was made into a movie. This was a great choice for Madison Bell's edgy and authentic novel. If you are a New Yorker or fan of New York-based story lines, listen to this novel. If all audiobooks were like this, I might listen more often!