Skip to main content

In Search of "The Last Beaucoeur"


 a book review of The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans- Part 2: The Last Beaucoeur


Reading "The Last Beaucoeur" photo by James Thiebaud


Having adored The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans, Part 1 ( see my review “Finding Home” http://kristinfouquet.blogspot.com/2011/01/finding-home.html ), I have been eagerly awaiting Part 2.

In Part 1, the lovable, witty protagonist B. Sammy Singleton is attempting to write a guidebook to the coffee shops of New Orleans. Easily distracted on a good day, he becomes obsessed with discovering the whereabouts of his close friend Charles “Catfish” Beaucoeur after a recent disappearance. We are introduced to Catfish in the beginning, but for much of the book he is as elusive as a ghost. The first part ends with a poem, “Old Glory,” penned by Catfish. The poignancy of the words leaves the reader with an intense desire to know this man; Part 2 gratifies this wish.

The prologue to The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans- Part 2: The Last Beaucoeur is a surreal hallucination which seems to foreshadow the ending. Eerily, the book begins and ends on Friday, August 26, 2005, just days before Hurricane Katrina makes landfall in Louisiana. The backdrop is a city in frenzy with uncertainty as New Orleanians asked themselves the question: Stay or go? The preparations and evacuations heighten Sammy’s urgency to find Catfish. Lummis writes deftly, positioning the reader alongside Sammy in his confusion, anxiety, and desperation.

The story is told in glimpses from Sammy’s childhood, but predominately through memories of Catfish’s lifelong friend, Lee Ann Rush. Lummis expertly merges fact and fiction, evident in the key character of a Magazine Street antiques dealer. Via Lee Ann, readers are finally rewarded an intimacy with Catfish, and a long-awaited yearning for Sammy as well.

Without giving the details of these secrets away, we learn the painful reasons why he periodically disappears along with the hurt and guilt he harbors for sins he did not commit. Lummis has done his research and these revelations are immensely powerful.

I’m ready for Part 3.

Find Part 1 and 2 here: http://www.coffeeshopchronicles.com/

Kristin Fouquet, September 2012

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

You Were Perfectly Fine by Dorothy Parker

"Martini" kristin fouquet


This is my favorite hangover story. A raise of the glass to the inimitable Dorothy Parker.


You Were Perfectly Fine

by

Dorothy Parker

The pale young man eased himself carefully into the low chair, and rolled his head to the side, so that the cool chintz comforted his cheek and temple.“Oh, dear,” he said.”Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear. Oh.”The clear-eyed girl, sitting light and erect on the couch, smiled brightly at him.“Not feeling so well today?” she said.“Oh, I’m great,” he said.”Corking, I am. Know what time I got up? Four o’clock this afternoon, sharp. I kept trying to make it, and every time I took my head off the pillow, it would roll under the bed. This isn’t my head I’ve got on now. I think this is something that used to belong to Walt Whitman. Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear.”“Do you think maybe a drink would make you feel better?” she said.“The hair of the mastiff that bit me?” he said.”Oh, no, thank you. Please never speak of anything like…

Blink-Ink #23 Mystery Train receives grand reviews

Many congratulations to a little magazine with big content! I'm proud to say I've been involved since the inaugural issue. Even my "Edgar Allan Poe-boy" postcard, a lagniappe insert, gets a nod in these reviews:


Blink-Ink- Number 23 NewPages Lit Mag Review

New Magazine for 50-word Fiction Features Memorable Life Snapshots- from The Review Review

Perhaps, the first instance of a term I coined "literary drag." If you know of other cases, please let me know in the comments.
Long Live Blink/Ink!
Blink-Ink




PATRIOTISM BY YUKIO MISHIMA

PATRIOTISM

Yukio Mishima

1

On the twenty-eighth of February, 1936 (on the third day, that is, of the February 26 Incident), Lieutenant Shinji Takeyama of the Konoe Transport Battalion—profoundly disturbed by the knowledge that his closest colleagues had been with the mutineers from the beginning, and indignant at the imminent prospect of Imperial troops attacking Imperial troops- took his officer’s sword and ceremonially disemboweled himself in the eight-mat room of his private residence in the sixth block of Aoba-cho, in Yotsuya Ward. His wife, Reiko, followed him, stabbing herself to death. The lieutenant’s farewell note consisted of one sentence: “Long live the Imperial Forces.” His wife’s, after apologies for her unfilial conduct in thus preceding her parents to the grave, concluded: “The day which, for a soldier’s wife, had to come, has come. . . .” The last moments of this heroic and dedicated couple were such as to make the gods themselves weep. The lieutenant’s age, it should be …