If you think that you know New York City, you might want to re-examine your thoughts.
In The News Factory, writer Matthew Abuelo takes you inside the less glamorous parts of NYC, which is a sharp contrast to the bigger-than-life concepts of the city that is familiar to tourists and outsiders. The powerfully written collection, of poetry and short stories, delves into daily lives of people who live within the individual rooms of rundown single room occupancies (SROs) or who live on the streets.
The News Factory does not sugarcoat the city that many tourists describe as full of bright lights and fun. While those parts of the city do exist, Abuelo focuses on NYC’s underbelly, explaining the plights of people with little money, big dreams and heart-wrenching struggles.
The poetry and short stories delve into what lives are like for prostitutes, people with AIDS, alcoholics and more. The writing is gritty and real as Abuelo describes interactions between the city’s residents and explains their lifestyles lack many necessary resources. Abuelo does not shy away from swear words, which makes sense as they give an authentic feeling to the character profiles. I bring up this point so that you are aware this is an adult read.
Do I recommend The News Factory? Absolutely. The use of language is exquisite, and I have reread many of the poems. The Silent Screen is one poem to point out. Here is an excerpt:
“Do you know the stories that sit on the curb
in garbage bags
from rooms with eviction notices on
The inclusion of short stories with the poetry provides reading variety, and the longer pieces expand on the residents’ hardships and personalities. My eyes certainly opened to the notion that there is a gritty part of NYC. Abuelo bases his writing on his observations of the city, as per his author biography at the book’s end. He describes real events and adds fictional elements too.
This is christyb, reading poetry and wondering if your own city has an underbelly to expose…