Welcome to Books By My Friends, Robert!
JH: What’s the blurb for your book A Brooklyn Memoir?
RR: A darkly comic and deeply moving memoir of a New York City lost to time From the final days of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the mid-1950s to the arrival of the Beatles in 1964, A Brooklyn Memoir is an unsentimental journey through one rough-and-tumble working-class neighborhood. Though only a 20-minute and 15-cent subway ride from the gleaming towers of Manhattan, across the East River, Flatbush remained insular and provincial—a place where Auschwitz survivors and WWII vets lived side by side and the war lingered like a mass hallucination. Meet Bobby, a local kid who shares a shabby apartment with his status-conscious mother and bigoted father, a soda jerk haunted by memories of the Nazi death camp he helped liberate. Flatbush, to Bobby, is a world of brawls with neighborhood “punks,” Hebrew-school tales of Adolf Eichmann’s daring capture, and grade-school duck-and-cover drills. Drawn to images of mushroom clouds and books about executions, Bobby ultimately turns the seething hatred he senses everywhere against himself. From a perch in his father’s candy store, Bobby provides a child’s-eye view of the mid-20th-century American experience—a poignant intertwining of the personal and historical.
JH: What inspired you to write A Brooklyn Memoir?
RR: In my previous book, “Beaver Street,” I described the scene in my father’s candy store in 1961. I realized I was only scratching the surface of that time and place. There was something happening in Flatbush that demanded further exploration, and I explored it in depth in “A Brooklyn Memoir.”
JH: What one thing do you love most about writing?
RR: Getting published.
JH: What’s next for you in the way of writing/publishing?
RR: A book about the 1970s, set at a radical student newspaper at the City College of NY.
JH: How can readers contact you?
Robert Rosen is the author of Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon, an international bestseller that’s been translated into many languages. His latest book, A Brooklyn Memoir, is about growing up in Flatbush in the 1950s and 60s, surrounded by Auschwitz survivors and WWII vets who fought the Nazis. His investigative memoir, Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, received critical acclaim across the cultural spectrum, from Vanity Fair to academic journals to Adult Video News. Over the course of his career, he’s edited pornographic magazines and an underground newspaper, written speeches for the Secretary of the Air Force, and was awarded a Hugo Boss poetry prize. Rosen’s work has appeared in publications all over the world, including The Village Voice, The Independent (U.K.), Uncut (U.K.), Erotic Review (U.K.), Mother Jones, The Soho Weekly News, La Repubblica (Italy), Dagospia (Italy), VSD (France), Proceso (Mexico), Reforma (Mexico), and El Heraldo (Colombia). Born in Brooklyn, Rosen attended Erasmus Hall High School and the City College of New York, where he studied creative writing with Joseph Heller and Francine du Plessix Gray. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Mary Lyn Maiscott, a writer, editor, and singer.
Thanks, Robert. Hope you’ll come back and tell us about your next publication when it’s available.
All good things,