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Savage Joy

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An East Village Tenement in the Beatdown Mid-’70s

New Yorker Magazine Literary Parties, Downtown Punk Bacchanals

Love, Music, Blood, and Madness

In 1976, Savage Joy author Robert Dunn (Meet the Annas, Stations of the Cross) moved to New York City, scored a $90-a-month East Village apartment, and got hired at The New Yorker magazine. All life-changing good fortune, and the foundation of this novel, Dunn’s most autobiographical yet.

In Savage Joy the narrator, Cole Whitman, straddles his uptown literary world and the budding Lower Manhattan punk scene. When an apartment in his building at 340 East 11th Street opens up, musician Slater Martin moves in, sweeping Cole along into his CBGBs world. Also moving into 340 is Cole’s elegant and mysterious literary editor pal Emily Prosser, whom Cole desires unrequitedly.

Cole needs a girlfriend, Slater needs a new band, Emily needs a new life. Together the three of them, along with a fiery female drummer called Sailor and a dweeby bassist, Wendell Walter, get a new punk group going, named, by Cole, Savage Joy.

What follows among the five of them is both joyful and savage, a feast of love, music, sex, violence, blood, and madness.

271 pages, Hardcover

Published June 16, 2017

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About the author

Robert Dunn

446 books36 followers
Robert Dunn is a writer, teacher, and musician. He has published widely, including work in the New Yorker and an O. Henry Prize story, as well as the musical novels Pink Cadillac (a Book Sense 76 pick), Cutting Time, Soul Cavalcade, Meet the Annas, Look at Flower, and Stations of the Cross.

Dunn has worked for the New Yorker magazine and Sports Illustrated, as well as teaching fiction writing at The New School in New York City. In the 1980s he was Bernard Malamud’s personal assistant.

Lately, Dunn has taken up photography; his photobooks (OWS, Angel Parade, and Meeting Robert Frank) are available at the ICP Bookstore, Dashwood, the Strand, and numerous other art bookstores.

Dunn is married to a film art director and lives in New York City.

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