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Jack Clark's cabbie noir

Intriguing piece here at the Reader about Nobody's Angel, by Chicago cabbie Jack Clark.
Set in the early 1990s, the book is an eye-opening immersion in a cabbie subculture built around a daily series of judgment calls and crapshoots aimed at avoiding the passenger who'll stiff or kill you. Written in prose that goes down easy as a cold beer, it offers locals the same delight-in-recognition we get from a good locally shot film, immortalizing the streets we walk and the neighborhoods we hang out in.
Equally interesting is the book's publication history.
About 20 years ago Jack Clark fashioned a noir novel out of a string of vignettes drawn from his night job as a Chicago cabbie. Having failed to find a publisher for it, he tried to get it serialized in the Reader. When the Reader took a pass, Clark self-published 500 copies under the title Relita's Angel and began distributing them from his taxi. For the next year or so, he carried a stack of the paperbacks in his cab, unloading them at $5 each—$3.14 more than his printing cost—on any passenger willing to say what the hell.
I don't read much crime fiction other than Jim Thompson, but I might just take the plunge on this one.

July 29, 2010 in Books, Chicago Observations | Permalink

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