Please join us to celebrate Nathaniel Rich's anticipated new novel King Zeno (FSG), which blends fact with fiction to weave an intricate and absorbing account of New Orleans a century ago. There will be live jazz music to heighten the mood! Plus, we'll be serving a special cocktail featured in the book - the Ojen Frappé.
Ojen (pronounced oh-hen) is an anise-based liqueur that came into production in 1830 near the small town of Ojén, Spain, in southern Andalusia. In the 1940's, Ojen was known as “the absinthe preference of the Spanish aristocracy". But before this, it was enjoyed in New Orleans for many decades. You can read about the liquors history in this piece in The Atlantic!
Live jazz from members of the Jazz Foundation of America.
About the book:
New Orleans, 1918. The birth of jazz, the Spanish flu, an ax murderer on the loose. The lives of a traumatized cop, a conflicted Mafia matriarch, and a brilliant trumpeter converge―and the Crescent City gets the rich, dark, sweeping novel it so deserves.
From one of the most inventive writers of his generation, King Zeno is a historical crime novel and a searching inquiry into man’s dreams of immortality.
New Orleans, a century ago: a city determined to reshape its destiny and, with it, the nation’s. Downtown, a new American music is born. In Storyville, prostitution is outlawed and the police retake the streets with maximum violence. In the Ninth Ward, laborers break ground on a gigantic canal that will split the city, a work of staggering human ingenuity intended to restore New Orleans’s faded mercantile glory. The war is ending and a prosperous new age dawns. But everything is thrown into chaos by a series of murders committed by an ax-wielding maniac with a peculiar taste in music.
The ax murders scramble the fates of three people from different corners of town. Detective William Bastrop is an army veteran haunted by an act of wartime cowardice, recklessly bent on redemption. Isadore Zeno is a jazz cornetist with a dangerous side hustle. Beatrice Vizzini is the widow of a crime boss who yearns to take the family business straight. Each nurtures private dreams of worldly glory and eternal life, their ambitions carrying them into dark territories of obsession, paranoia, and madness.
In New Orleans, a city built on swamp, nothing stays buried long.
Nathaniel Rich is the author of the novels Odds Against Tomorrow and The Mayor’s Tongue. His short fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and VICE, among other publications. He is a writer at large for the New York Times Magazine and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and the Atlantic. Rich lives in New Orleans.
About The Jazz Foundation of America:
For 26 years, the Jazz Foundation has been the only national organization dedicated to saving the homes and lives of elder jazz and blues musicians in crisis—musicians who have made our world richer through their music. JFA has grown to support over 5,000 cases a year with emergency assistance and work opportunities. Every day, the foundation helps clients in need who often have nowhere else to turn: their Emergency Assistance program keeps the electricity on, the rent or mortgage paid, and food on the table, in addition to counseling and referrals for pro bono services. The foundation helps to reestablish a musician’s sense of dignity and purpose through performance opportunities with our Agnes Varis Jazz in the Schools program which brings music to schools, nursing homes, hospitals and other venues throughout the country. We also save lives through our partnership with Englewood Hospital and Medical Center doctors and staff who have been serving JFA clients for 21 years. With this network of caring professionals, JFA social workers provide crucial services that keep many of these accomplished music veterans alive and productive, doing what they love to do—play music.