A review of 'A Place in the Sun'
Lewis Warsh's A Place in the Sun hopes to be called pulpy. It earns the title twice — with its breakneck story pacing and with its subjects (beautiful New York Russian women and the cops/criminals in their lives). The pulp angle on pace and structure is the far more interesting of the two. This is where the book genuinely succeeds, and where Warsh points to the new ground still remaining in experimental prose.
The collection winds through six stories. From story to story the subjects shift wildly, but the same pressures distill them all: rote storylines are forced through the excesses of their campy renderings to come back around to a new kind of clarity.
In The Russians, a story that ticks through a half-dozen perspectives on New York immigrant life, a violent kitchen break-in binds the characters (named Eddie Perez Irene, Marina, and Ivan, and rendered flat as paper dolls). In Secrets, the melancholy of contemporary writing life is exaggerated, to excellent effect, playing off writing-program sexy-intrigue as a desperate cliché.