“WhateverTom Piazza writes is touched with magic." —Douglas Brinkley
Acclaimed author Tom Piazza follows hisprize-winning novel City of Refuge and the post-Katrinaclassic Why New Orleans Matters with a dynamic collection ofessays and journalism about American music and American character, in DevilSent the Rain.
“TomPiazza’s writing is filled with energy, and with tender, insightful words forthe brilliant and irascible, from Jimmy Martin to Norman Mailer. Time and timeagain, Piazza identifies the unlikely, precious connections between recentevents, art, letters, and music; through his words, these byways of popularculture provide an unexpected measure of the times.” —Elvis Costello
Piazza (City of Refuge) uses a blues lyric in the title of this work, offering selected articles, profiles, and interviews previously published in the New York Times, the Oxford American, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere. The book, ranging from 1994, when Piazza moved to New Orleans, to the present, challenges readers with a powerful mix of humor, insight, and outrage about post-Katrina New Orleans, the blues, literature, and politics. In one piece he defends New Orleans' displaced poor against a charge that they are "lazy and parasitic" and then pronounces that readers' desire to transform New Orleans into a sanitized "museum town" is despicable. Assessing his mentor Norman Mailer, Piazza writes that one "can't approach the truth without first turning an eye on one's own subjectivity." And so, in article after article, he does. Throughout Piazza engages himself as he engages his readers. His energetic and rigorous prose keeps faith with optimism, pluralism, and compassion democratic values he uncovers in American lives. The result is a book of quotable moments and glimpses of grace under pressures both manmade and natural.