Great news! Library Journal has written a glowing, starred review of Marjorie Kernan’s novel, The Ballad of West Tenth Street. I included the book in my latest printed edition of The Roaring 20s, where I gushed over the eccentric and uplifting debut novel. Kernan masterfully writes a touching, compelling story, while avoiding falling into the traps of cliché or the maudlin. It is a novel that proves the power of human connection, even in the face of overwhelming tragedy.
Check out LJ’s review now!
Kernan, Marjorie. The Ballad of West Tenth Street.
Sadie Hollander, the widow of a British rock star, is quietly drinking herself into oblivion. She lives with her two gifted children in a Greenwich Village town house, but life begins to change for the Hollanders when the house next door is purchased by the Colonel, an elderly Southern gentleman. Under the Colonel’s aegis, they begin to create an unlikely family—including Cap’n Meat, the homeless Vietnam veteran with his pet cat, Titus; the ultra-efficient interior designer Mrs. De Angelo; Joe, a nonunion repairman who plays honky-tonk piano; Ette, the Colonel’s South American housekeeper; and Deen and Hamish Hollander, who worry about their mother’s drinking and their institutionalized older sister, Gretchen. This is, however, New York, and there are also dangerous, malignant individuals on the scene. Kernan, an artist, masterly limns her assemblage of New Yorkers in this first novel. Her vivid characterizations of these damaged but good-hearted people and the joyous but realistic manner in which she draws New York City come together in an utterly charming fable about the creation of community. Highly recommended for fiction collections.—Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS