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In the City of Falling Stars

Chris Tusa

Synopsis: Dead birds are falling out of the sky and Maurice Delahoussaye suspects the air in New Orleans may be unsafe. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries claims the birds were poisoned, while meteorologists suggest they were killed by a sudden change in temperature. There’s even talk of terrorism, Bird Flu, West Nile Virus, or high levels of mold spores left over from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Gradually, Maurice becomes increasingly fearful that the government is hiding an ominous secret, and when he begins having strange religious premonitions suggesting that his wife is pregnant with Jesus Christ, he becomes convinced that the dead birds are a sign from God. In the City of Falling Stars is a tragicomedy that examines the increasing paranoia following the September 11th attacks, as well as a commentary on the devastating psychological scars that the storm left on the city of New Orleans.

 

 

ISBN: 978-1-60489-179-9 Hard cover $30.00   Sale: $16.00 

ISBN: 978-1-60489-180-5  Trade paper $17.95     Sale: $8.50

245 Pages

  About the Author: Chris Tusa was born and raised in New Orleans. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. His debut novel, Dirty Little Angels, was published in March of 2009. His debut collection of poems, Haunted Bones, was published in 2006. His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Connecticut Review, New South, Texas Review, The Southeast Review, New Delta Review, South Dakota Review and others. His second novel, In the City of Falling Stars, was recently awarded First Runner-Up for the Faulkner Wisdom Novel-in-Progress Award. Aside from acting as Managing Editor of Fiction Southeast, Tusa divides his time between teaching full-time in the English Department at LSU and acting as Writer-in-Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University. He is currently working on his fourth book, a novel set in New Orleans in 1887, tentatively titled More Devils Than Hell Can Hold.

 

 

 

 

 

 Excerpt from the Book:

CHAPTER ONE

      For the last few days Maurice Delahoussaye had been thinking of ways to kill Michael. He’d considered poisoning him, planting a bomb in his car, stabbing him, pushing him off an overpass, drowning him, electrocuting him, slitting his throat, even setting him on fire. When he finally decided that shooting him was the best option, Maurice climbed into his car and drove to New Orleans East, toward a dilapidated Six Flags amusement park on the edge of the city.

      It was almost noon when he arrived. He parked the car, grabbed the mannequin from the backseat and closed the door behind him. Beneath a scorched July sky, he dragged the mannequin through a field choked with weeds, past empty beer cans, twisted pieces of rusted corrugated metal, gutted air conditioners plucked clean of copper tubing, until he came to a sagging barbed-wire fence that surrounded the park. Before tossing the mannequin over the fence, he adjusted the dust mask he was wearing and slipped through a ragged hole near the bottom. Since the abandoned amusement park was on the outskirts of New Orleans, and fairly desolate ever since the storm, he figured it was the perfect place for target practice.

      Once inside the actual park, he walked past the rusted, graffitied remnants of rides, past a row of dead trees, branches tangled with cottony pink blossoms of insulation, past a large statue of a clown’s head and a pale carousel horse lying on its side in the sun. The wide concrete walkway that snaked through the park was littered with the rusted skeletons of awnings, ragged strips of canvas snapping in the wind. He walked past an aluminum Six Flags sign splattered with rusty bullet holes, past a dinosaur head with a caved-in skull, until he came to the old Under the Sea roller coaster. The ground around the entrance was strewn with shards of broken glass and dirty needles, the archway painted bright blue with a statue of a mermaid affixed to the side of the building. The mermaid had fat red lips, a seashell covered each of her breasts, and the silver scales of her fishtail had peeled off. Her hands and stomach were clumped with bird shit, and her nose was missing.

 

 

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