The biggest problem with the new anthology D.C. Noir 2 is its title. The “2” implies that the book is merely a rehash of the street-level fiction that George Pelecanos assembled for 2005’s D.C. Noir, and the term “noir” itself tends to imply overheated prose with lots of gunplay and existential despair. The book is, in fact, a fine exhibition of social realism set in the District, and Pelecanos corralled some of its best practitioners: Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ward Just, and Edward P. Jones all have pieces included. Sure, plenty of blood gets spilled: James Grady’s “Kiss the Sky,” for instance, is a precise and intense glimpse into violence at Lorton prison. No story goes in for the cheap and lurid, though, and the best moments (particularly an excerpt from Marita Golden’s 2006 novel, After) put a human face on events that rarely get more dignity than the police blotter. For this event, Pelecanos will be joined by Golden, Grady, and Rhozier “Roach” Brown.
THE AUTHORS WILL DISCUSS AND SIGN COPIES OF THEIR WORK AT 6 P.M. AT BUSBOYS & POETS, 2021 14TH ST. NW. FREE. (202) 387-7638.