Saturday, October 8, 2016
A story that nails one Providence community in Providence Noir
Enjoying reading Providence Noir, part of the "noir" series of short-story collections, this one edited by old friend and not particularly noirish personality Ann Hood. Of course this collection would be fun for any RIer to read and, the better entries, fun for anyone. What constitutes a "better entry"? What I'm looking for is not just a good story with atmosphere, dark thoughts and behavior, and sometimes a clever and compact narrative with twists of fate - but also something that captures the mood and spirit of the great city of Providence. So if it's a story that really could have taken place in any city, a story that stakes a claim to a Providence connection just because of name checks, OK well and good for noir but not so much for Providence. One of the successes in this regard is the leadoff story by Luann Rice - a neat, grisly piece about a young RISD grad artist living in Fox Point, a changing neighborhood that Rice really nails: the Brown/RISD/young metro crowd moving in and melding or sometimes clashing with the long-standing indigenous Portuguese/Cap Verdean community. The young artist is living in a place paid for by her (married) boyfriend, a mid-level State House lobbyist - and that kind of interconnection seems very true of Providence, with the one caveat that this could hardly be kept a secret in such a small community. Rice does a great job conveying the troubled mind of the artist, as we follow her plot to do away with boyfriend's wife a plan that inevitably goes awry.