The Industrial Canal
“When the final plugs of land at either end of the canal were dynamited, the project would be complete. Lake would meet river. The great dream would be realized. But it wasn’t really her dream anymore, was it? It was her nightmare.”
“He peeked around the corner of the house to make sure the alley was clear.”
“The sunlight on St. Charles was a thousand needles poking under his collar. Applied suddenly, in extreme quantities, the heat brought visions.”
The House on Liberty Street
“Liberty Street shivered as if underwater. This time of year you expected alligators to climb out of the gutters, fish to swim through the air. Then came the spring floods and the streets really did go underwater.”
The House on First Street
“She returned to the house on First Street in a blue reverie.”
Bill’s night patrol
“A black cur in Lafayette Square, at least until he turned to look at it directly, had walked upright on its hind legs like a man, as if to mock him.”
The Cortimiglia Atrocity
“The murderer who attacked the Cortimiglia family while they slept in the early hours of Sunday worked with all the cunning of a degenerate maniac.”
The Tulane Professor Fishman
“People of New Orleans, we must not allow the enemy to breach the fortification! Have we already forgotten the great storm of 1915, the fallen steeples of our churches, the ripped-up roofs, the Lake invading through the gutters?”
New Orleans, 1918. The birth of jazz, the Spanish flu, an ax murderer on the loose. The lives of a traumatized cop, a conflicted Mafia matriarch, and a brilliant trumpeter converge―and the Crescent City gets the rich, dark, sweeping novel it deserves.
Nathaniel Rich is the author of three novels: King Zeno (MCD/FSG, 2018), Odds Against Tomorrow (FSG, 2013), and The Mayor’s Tongue (Riverhead, 2008). He is also the author of two works of nonfiction: Second Nature (MCD/FSG, 2021) and Losing Earth (MCD/FSG, 2019). His short fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, Vice, VQR, and The American Scholar, among other publications. Rich is a writer-at-large for The New York Times Magazine and a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and The Atlantic. He lives in New Orleans.