After long workin’ in the fertile fields of Elysium, a fruitful harvest. The novel ELYSIAN FIELDS, published this month by Mid-City Books, will be officially launched in the city that gave it birth with a party at Mimi’s in the Marigny on Friday, April 5, from 6:00 to 8:00, and a reading and signing by Mark LaFlaur at the Garden District Book Shop on Sunday, April 7, from 2:00 to 4:00. See the Facebook Event page here.

Since our last posting, early reviews have been encouraging. Publishers Weekly gave Elysian Fields a starred review (“engrossing”), and Antigravity magazine calls it “a stunning debut.” Excerpts below. Read more reviews and comments here.

EF_newbrite_mini“Life in the Weems family of 1999 New Orleans is anything but Elysian in this engrossing Southern Gothic snapshot. As Simpson ponders whether to kill his brother Bartholomew, he reflects upon their upbringing with mother Melba. At age 36, Simpson works in a copy shop, but fantasizes of escaping to San Francisco and being a famous poet. The obstacle is Bartholomew—as a second grader, he spent a year in a psychiatric ward—who is presented vividly as possibly autistic and ‘laced with idiot savantism.’ LaFlaur deftly alternates between character perspectives, delving into perceptions and motivations. . . . Simpson’s perception of haunted New Orleans hammers home LaFlaur’s implication that life consists mostly of dealing with your ghosts. . . . [R]eaders will find the author’s portrayal of New Orleans convincing and his characters fascinating and fully developed.”   —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A stunning debut . . . A look at the interplay of the figures in this working-class clan on Invalides Street has shades of Tennessee Williams, Faulkner and John Kennedy Toole impressed in its pages, yet [Elysian Fields] transcends those influences to become an original vision all its own. . . . LaFlaur gently and expertly pulls readers along with his characters, never flinching in the face of their foibles, giving us reasons to care what happens to them . . .”  —Antigravity magazine (Your New Orleans Alternative to Culture), March 2013

The public is invited to these free events, but you might want to get to Garden District Book Shop early, as seats will fill up.


Thanks to Sam Jasper and Mark Folse for their help in lining up the party at Mimi’s. Sam and Mark coedited A Howling in the Wires, a powerful, highly recommended anthology of writings by New Orleans bloggers just after Hurricane Katrina—when posting on the InterWeb machine was often the only way to communicate with the outside world, or even across town—published by Gallatin and Toulouse Press (2010). An excerpt from the book, written by our friend and Ashley Award–winning blogger Dedra “G-Bitch” Johnson, can be seen here. (She’ll be at the launch party, too!) Warm thanks to all New Orleans bloggers and others for spreading the word.