There are no products in your shopping cart.
Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the publication of The Fountain of Highlandtown, this new collection of fiction from a master storyteller continues to mine the lives of Americans we rarely hear about. In Basilio Boullosa Stars in the Fountain of Highlandtown, Rafael Alvarez returns to his main theme of exile, the heartbreak of leaving and being left behind set to the sound track of the Beatles, Dylan, and Zappa. From the East Baltimore immigrants stirring the old country back to life in deep-bellied pots and cast iron skillets to the lovers stroking the relics of lost romance, Alvarez's characters yearn for the lost and struggle mightily to make memory as tangible as flesh.
From National Book Award winner James McBride: "Rafael Alvarez's talents--poetic deftness, tight dialogue, burning descriptive passages laid out with seeming ease--show why he was one of the gifted writers that turned The Wire into the greatest show in television history. These are stories from the treasure chest of one of America's most talented scribes, and I am glad he shared them with us."
Published in 1997, The Fountain of Highlandtown heralded the fiction debut of a City Desk reporter for the Baltimore Sun who wanted to tell stories that would carry no expiration date. A late-night rewrite man, Alvarez used the rest of his time documenting the folklore of his hometown's neighborhoods. The practice imbued his short stories with a blue-collar honesty and kitchen-apron reality. Here is love in all of its pain and joy: love that Alvarez has for his city, that his characters have for one other, and that readers will have for these stories.
For the back cover of that first book, Stuart Dybek--author of Paper Lantern: Love Stories and The Coast of Chicago--said, "Rafael Alvarez's voice has already matured into a savvy, fleet prose style, and a pan-ethnic vision in which his allegiance, rather than to political correctness, is to integrity and vitality." It was twenty years ago today and the band is playing better than ever.
A lifelong Baltimorean, Alvarez began publishing poetry during the Ford Administration by rewriting the lyrics to Robin Trower songs. His early pieces appeared in the News-American--a defunct afternoon paper for the city's working class--and Chicory, a literary magazine published in Baltimore from 1966-to-1983. For twenty years, he worked as a City Desk reporter for the Baltimore Sun, specializing in the folklore of city neighborhoods. He quit the paper in 2001 to work as a laborer on cable ships and soon after began writing for HBO's police drama, The Wire.
Basilio Boullosa Stars in the Fountain of Highlandtown is Alvarez's fourth collection of fiction.