Ian McNulty’s "Season of Night" Book Release

Ian McNulty

I haven’t been able to read anymore books about Post Katrina New Orleans. Period. As much as I want to. One symptom of Post Traumatic Stress disorder is continually reliving the traumatic experience and I have done enough of that just working with Karen on Squandered Heritage and my continual work on the Neighborhood Conservation District Committeee brings it all back without any artistic flourish. However, Ian McNulty is one of the city’s finest writers.

I have pestered Ian more than once about relegating his talent to the not-at-all challenging work of restaurant reviews, where his adjectives seem to go to waste.  I was so happy to see he’s actually completed a book that will zero in on a new feeling about our experience.  Why do I think this?  Because a few months ago I posted my recommended “One Dead in Attic” through Good Reads and my youngest sister Kate picked it up and read it.

We discovered that her reading it helped her understand the magnitude of what I/we’ve gone through and are still going through here in New Orleans. She was very understanding when I explained why I have to bring my cats to Illinois when I visit her while on vacation next month. It made sense to her and made her miss New Orleans more. Since she’s visited me here, we have had a great amount to talk about as a result. 

“Season of Night”, promises to bring a new perspective to our lives post-Katrina. I am sure it will pack more bravado than all other books on New Orleans lately.  I am sure Kate and I will read it and compare notes. 

Ian is a very charming man and I love so much of what he does even beyond his writing. He encompasses that superior sense of whimsy that is New Orleans. Ian doesn’t need to ‘sell it’. He’s the opposite of Chris Rose, he’s not a-social at all. For example, I love his Tour de Pants event, a bike ride / pub crawl through the neighborhoods of New Orleans which is hosted in conjunction with the final day of the Tour de France.   Ian’s Coolers and Candlight Party also speaks to his higher level of connectedness and ability to discuss this whole big experience in a its real context. Ian has a larger-than-life wit that I am sure will make reading about Katrina related events and emotions adventurous again and breath new perspective into our healing. I know that Ian can deliver us from darkness.

You can come see Ian at The Garden District Bookshop in The Rink at Prytania and Washington on Thursday, July 10th from 5:30-7:30. Having been in the bookselling business for many years, I must say that hearing an author talk about his work is always very enlightening! Hearing Ian speak will be a great treat.

Just in case you miss it elsewhere, here is the official publisher write up on the book:
In A Season of Night: New Orleans Life after Katrina, author and New Orleans journalist Ian McNulty offers an intimate account of that homecoming and the battle between hope and despair in a surreal landscape.
McNulty moved back to his wrecked New Orleans house soon after the floodwaters drained, living on the second floor and writing this book on a laptop by candlelight.
By turns haunting, inspiring, and darkly comic, this memoir offers a behind-the-headlines story of resilience and renewal for a neighborhood and a city. From bittersweet camaraderie in the ruined streets to the first flickers of cultural revival and the explosive joy of a post-Katrina Mardi Gras, A Season of Night delivers an unprecedented tale from the wounded but always enthralling Crescent City.

ps: Being a literary dork, this title reminds me of Celine’s “Journey To The End of the Night”. But that’s pretty French.

pps: Ian, I am really fucking proud of you! Thanks !  

2 Comments so far

  1. maryc on July 13th, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

    Thanks for the info on this book. I just finished reading it. From an outsider (TX) who has followed the aftermath of Katrina for a number of different reasons, and visited NO a year after, it was great to read a firsthand experience that helped explained why people return(ed).

  2. Laureen Lentz (no_laureen) on July 14th, 2008 @ 11:21 am

    Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and the book. We’re still recovering here and while the nation may be tired of it and we are equally tired of recovery ourselves, I think Ian’s book does really lend a new perspective to this huge experience since he’s been such an uplifting part of it with his parties and events, i.e. the Santas story.

    In particular, the Candlelights and Coolers party demonstrates his ability to cope and help others cope as well. It’s a spontaneous cultural marriage of how we deal with the duress in our own unique way in New Orleans. I hope it remains a tradition so that we never take electric light and hot water for granted. But if you ever find yourself in such a situation, this is a lesson in how to best handle it.

    I really loved his description of riding through the dark, dark neighborhoods which took so long to get power after the storm, a very haunting aspect of the city immediately post-K that I do not want to ever forget. It was great to read that. It was so creepy once one left the "island" of uptown for so many months! Driving all directions regardless of the one-way. He did a very good job on those things. I still embrace the loose interpretation of driving laws. I actually miss that part of Post-K life. Wow, to think of all the temporary stop signs, since ALL the traffic signals were down for a long long time!

    I also love the typeface he chose for this book too ! I think it’s very well done. I am so happy to hear that you have enjoyed it. I am very proud of him for putting it out there.

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