The Man Who Came Uptown

The Man Who Came Uptown

Book - 2018
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Michael Hudson spends the long days in prison devouring books given to him by the prison's librarian, a young woman named Anna who develops a soft spot for her best student. Anna keeps passing Michael books until one day he disappears, suddenly released after a private detective manipulated a witness in Michael's trial. Outside, Michael encounters a Washington, D.C. that has changed a lot during his time locked up. Once shady storefronts are now trendy beer gardens and flower shops. But what hasn't changed is the hard choice between the temptation of crime and doing what's right. Trying to balance his new job, his love of reading, and the debt he owes to the man who got him released, Michael struggles to figure out his place in this new world before he loses control.
Publisher: New York : Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ℗♭2018
ISBN: 9780316479820
Branch Call Number: F PELECANOS
Characteristics: 263 pages ; 25 cm


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Jan 13, 2020

I don't think I've read any books by this author before, but I was satisfied with this quick read. With a narrative viewed by 4 main characters, there was not a lot of depth to the story. I appreciated the multiple book references and the history of the DC, being both a book reader and a 2 year resident of DC. But I thought the style and the dialogue was a poor man's tribute to Elmore Leonard, and it lacked the timbre of authenticity that was Leonard's trademark. It seems that Pelicanos strength in dialogue is subject to an actor's interpretation, which I apparently lack in my reading mode.

Still, I would read another book by this author and it seems I have a lot of choices from which to choose.

Dec 28, 2018

There are two very noticeable attributes about any writing (film or novel) by George Pelecanos. The first is his mastery of dialogue, which really lifts The Man Who Came Uptown above the ordinary crime thriller. Too many writers focus excessively specifics of subcultural vernacular, overlooking the equally (or more) powerful aspects that dialogue allows – cadence, intonation, contextual rhythms or silences, to name but a few. But Pelecanos skillfully leverages such subtleties in support of full and rich characters, each with his or her own voice and each with a unique (and uniquely troubled) story. Phil Ornazian has a very distinct “sound” throughout the novel, as do Michael Hudson, Thaddeus Ward, and the handful of street thugs and less-than-charming characters with whom they cross paths.
The second is the rhythms that Pelecanos textures throughout his narrative. They are multilayered and subtle (again with that word, I know), used to illuminate and underscore the differences separating neighbourhoods, people, and the life trajectories explored in these pages. Impressively, Pelecanos recognizes that for each of us, life is a negotiation between various rhythms – the rhythm of the street, of work, of home life, and of a life aspired to. Rhythms sent to the men of the novel who are, at once, fathers, sons, husbands, lovers, and friends. Rhythms that, for some, end in tragedy, and for others in a deeply felt yearning for something more than what life is offering.
A read that draws you in slowly, The Man Who Came Uptown is surprisingly poignant, and Pelecanos is a writer worth far more attention than he seems to have garnered to date.

Nov 13, 2018

One of his best - don't miss it.


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