The Corner

See Sakhalin Island and Die

The final free excerpt from my first novel, Exchange Alley, is now up over at Big Hollywood. The complete novel is on sale for just 99 cents this week on Kindle, and will be available on the Nook sometime in the next few days. Not for the squeamish, but if you ever wanted to experience how the Soviets used to break people psychologically and physically — without the, you know, agony — here’s your big chance.

After a while, even the most resolute protest subsided. The punishment was too severe, the hopelessness too overwhelming. Nothing a man said availed him anything, for no one was listening, including God. No man had the strength to protest all his life; acceptance of what you could not change was part of growing up and thus even the most dedicated resisters either died or conformed. In the end all men were collaborators, either with the enemy or with Death. Every man might be a hero to his dog, but no man is a hero to his jailer. No man, caught in the pitiless glare of the light, could harbor heroism in his breast. He could only scrabble for his soul.

The title, by the way, refers to the short street in the French Quarter that runs northeast from Canal Street to Iberville Street, between Chartres and Royal. (It’s also called Exchange Place.) No. 126 Exchange Alley is where Lee Harvey Oswald lived with his mother after their return from the Bronx in 1954:

Exchange Alley was well known as the location of other elements; it was an area notorious for illicit activities. As the managing director of the Metropolitan Crime Commission of New Orleans, Aaron Kohn recalled, “Exchange Alley, specifically that little block that Oswald lived on, was literally the hub of some of the most notorious underworld joints in the city.” (6). He noted further that Exchange Alley was the location of various gambling operations affiliated with the Marcello organization.

And away we go . . .

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More