Friday, December 21, 2007

Akashic -- God Bless You

Although its name sounds like a sneeze, Akashic is really a marvelously inventive paperback house run by musician Johnny Temple, the bassist of the rock group Girls Against Boys. Akashic is a Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to "publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction by authors who are either ignored by the mainstream, or who have no interest in working within the ever-consolidating ranks of the major corporate publishers." Its motto is "Reverse-gentrification of the literary world."

Three of its recent titles show off Akashic's range and originality. QUEENS NOIR, edited by Robert Knightly, walks in the urban footsteps of CHICAGO NOIR and BRONX NOIR, offering sharply-edited collections of stories by writers who know the turf. Denis Hamill, Megan Abbott and Maggie Estep lead this present parade.

YOU MUST BE THIS HAPPY TO ENTER is the third collection of Elizabeth Crane's remarkable stories to be published under Akashic's Punk Planet label -- emotional, weird and very funny stuff.

And THE DUPPY is also something rare, a book by Jamaican-born Londoner Anthony C. Winkler about a Jamaican shopkeeper who dies one morning and is transported to Heaven (which looks very much like Jamaica) in a crowded mini-bus.

Akashic. It's nothing to sneeze at.

No comments: