Attn.: There's plenty of sex in the novel, some of it graphic and all of it central to Stromme's protagonist and his job as a public writer.
REVIEWS AND PRAISE IN THE STATES:
"Steeped in the noir world of people living on the fringes, taunted by broken dreams and desires beyond their grasp..."Joe's Word" is a singular book, one that defies description even as it haunts the reader." -- Vince Keenan, Mystery*File #4
"Good things always seem to come in the small, neat editions
packaged in the City Lights Noir series. JOE'S WORD (City Lights, paper,
$11.95) gets my nod for the wry wit of its author, Elizabeth Stromme,
and for the amused affection she has for the unglamorous neighborhood
at the losing end of Sunset Boulevard...The love letters and missives
of grievance that emanate from Joe's desk produce a clientele that could
break your head as quick as your heart."
"It's hard to understand why this delightful novel made
its debut in France in 1996 and has only just graced its hometown, but
it may be that the French love our L.A. noir almost as much -- the French
publishers even more -- than we do. The Joe of the title is a writer for
hire, the modern equivalent of a medieval scribe."
"A dark, dark vision of L.A. and the people who live there.
The city of Los Angeles is so strongly depicted, it stands out as a "character"
as strongly as it does in anything by Raymond Chandler or James M. Cain...[It's]
a kind of scary and dangerous and moody place."
"Joe's Word is a one of a kind, an oddly touching book about
a part of L.A. that's too rarely written about, and a picture of the kind
of community people seldom imagine exists there. Elizabeth Stromme is
a gifted and funny writer with real flair, and Joe's Word is a terrific
"Intriguing, offbeat noir fiction."
"Stromme packages her moral message in a pitch-perfect rendition
of a postwar crime novel, complete with an existentially slow buildup
to the main action and a large helping of sexual perversion. This is the
novel Jim Thompson would write if he were still kicking."
"Stromme deserves all the praise, though the [Booklist] is
a positive review, it does the book a disservice by being so misleading.
"Sexual perversity"? What the hell? She displays an amazing skill at portraying
normal sex, and more precisely, capturing the anxiety and apprehension
around will-it-or-won't-it happen. And that Jim Thompson analogy...well,
maybe if Joe killed Clio there'd be something to that. Stromme's writing
is witty and evocative enough that it doesn't need to be propped up with
a `noir' crutch."
"Those Brides! Just the sadness and the bravery of all of
it -- I opened your book yesterday, read until finished it...and am filled
"A worthwhile and haunting read."
"What I found particularly interesting about this excellent
neo-noir is the way Stromme, unconsciously or otherwise, is able to gender-bend
the language, [making] Joe's Word a refreshing take on the genre, so often
overladen with macho syntax and references. Not that this book isn't hardboiled
or filled with witticisms, acute observations and true-to-life dialogue...Joe
will put pen to paper for anyone willing to pay for his services. Which
makes him the ultimate freelancer, and an interesting update on the traditional
private eye in which the pen has replaced the pistol."
"...a funny and sensitive portrait of a disenfranchised neighborhood in Los Angeles." -- Le Monde
"As hilarious as "The Big Lebowski" by the Coen brothers... a small masterpiece of dry tenderness." -- Les Inrockuptibles
"As well-made and troubling as the legs on the book jacket... Dangerous." -- Cosmopolitan (French édition)
"Extremely vivid...A terrific gift for those who read it." -- "A Toute Allure" talk show, Radio France Inter
"[It's] characters [are] never in a hurry, slightly off-kilter but extremely endearing." -- Lire
(c) Copyright Elizabeth Stromme. All rights reserved.