"I wonder how people think of Portland from the outside. Is it a hippie haven where everyone reads Ken Kesey and hangs out at open mike night? Is it the gray, grungy, junkie-riddled streets of early Gus Van Sant movies? A cheap, trendy town full of myopic record labels and zinesters? Sex worker paradise? Bookstore heaven? A place where New Yorkers come to feel important and/or relaxed? Some wet old logging town that somehow became "one of the best cities in America"?
Yeah, it's all that and a fancy coffee spilled on your Gore-Tex jacket (the same one you soiled with microbrew last night)."
What a lovely...and TRUE...introduction to Portland Noir, a wonderful collection of seedy stories set throughout Portland, written by local authors. The collection really does showcase the different sections of the city (Burnside, St. Johns, Mount Tabor, Powell, Oaks Bottom, etc.) and the sub-culture that is inherently threaded through its identity. I really enjoyed reading the dark portrayals and the fact that, in nearly every story, the city functions as a prominent character. A wonderful little read and find in, where else, a Portland used bookstore. Yes!
It's difficult to review a compilation, so I'll just say this: every single story in this collection is wonderful. Yes, some are better than others, but for the most part I enjoyed everything that was included. Some standouts were: Luciana Lopez's "Julia Now," Jonathan Selwood's "The Wrong House," and Gigi Little's "Shanghaied." Great stuff.
"Me, I love good lore. Lore is my favorite kind of story. Because it's not only historical, it's a lie everyone knows is a lie but tells anyway."