|"Brilliant In New Orleans"
David Lummis is the most brilliant wordsmith I've read since I-don't-remember-when. The Coffee Shop
Chronicles would be of interest to anyone who loves New Orleans, her history, or her society, or who is gay or knows someone who is gay or just appreciates great writing.
-- Tony Fennelly, New Orleans, LA
author of the Matt Sinclair and Margot Fortier mysteries
|Total stranger here. I was visiting New Orleans last week (Now a Seattle ex-pat but grew up nearby
and lived there years ago, and am one of those for whom it is the home of the heart) and frequented
both the Croissant DíOr and CC. When I saw your book advertized I picked it up. Iím seldom moved to
jump in there and tell an author that I donít know how much I love his work, but yours breaks my heart
in a way it needs to be broken! I love Sammyís voice and was drawn deeper and deeper into his, and
Catfishís, conflicts. I canít wait to see where things go.
I am also a writer, most publications are in poetry but some prose as well, and am flogging a first
novel, set on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans. Itís a slog, but reading yours gave me great hope. I
am waiting impatiently for Part 2, and I hope to hear youíre on a national tour soon. If you make it to
Seattle, put Elliott Bay Books on your list of places to read, and if itís not carried there do have them
approached. Itís a scion in Seattle and I think your work would be really well received. Best of luck. You
-- Rebecca Meredith
|"Can't Wait For The Next One!"
I struggled to stay awake last night to finish the Coffee Shop Chronicles - a long day and
the heat were closing me down - not this excellent book. I could not allow myself to drift off
until that decidedly (emotionally) difficult last chapter and Catfish's soul flaying poem was
read and then digested - and then digested again. I suspect, The Coffee Shop Chronicles
will be one of those books whose theme and questions raised will demand a great deal of
digestion before it becomes part of the fibre of one's consciousness.
Sammy's inner dialogue and outward movement (or lack there of) made me laugh out
loud and several scenes will stay with me - the coffee shop being invaded by the family of
tourists, the painful scream as he jumps into bed with Catfish and the baggy Edie Bauer
shorts (my favourite).
The "unusually" long sentence structure took a little getting used to, but soon enough I was
lulled by its rhythm and it became the melody behind the lyrics.
I look forward to the next installment.
|"Great Summer Read"
David Lummis has captured the charm, mystique, and culture of life in the Big Easy. A must
read for anyone who loves New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
-- Trudi B. Stafford, Fort Worth, TX
|"Coffee and New Orleans: A Great Combo"
|Those of you who know me also know that two of my favorite things in life are coffee and
talking about my life in New Orleans and if someone would put those two topics together in
a book, he is bound to get a rave review. Such is very much the case with David Lummis
and "The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans", a projected three book set. I just finished
Part 1 and about to extol its virtues.
First let's look at what the book is about. B. Sammy Singleton is the son of a Baptist
minister; he is an agnostic and has been sober now for ten years. He also has something to
say about everything. He is at work (or would like us to believe) on writing a guidebook on
New Orleans coffee shops. However he hits a snag when his best friend Catfish, the heir to
the Beaucoeur sugarcane fortune, is taken in by the New Orleans Police Department
for "grave robbing" and afterwards mysteriously disappears. As Sammy begins looking for
him Sammy finds himself on a personal journey into parts of his life that he had thought
would never be heard of again and like Huckleberry Finn and Leo Bloom, we are with him as
he learns not only where to find the best coffee but about a very shameful period of
Sammy has never written a book before and he finds that doing so is a heavy job. The
writing gig interferes with Sammy's facing a world where racism exists and for which he has
made himself the champion of doing away with it. He has returned to New Orleans after
having lived in the North and he has come home to blend in and eventually lose himself. He
has switched addictions from alcohol to coffee and he knows every coffee shop in the city it
seems and the people in the shops all know him. He uses the coffee shops as a refuge for
peace and solitude; Sammy is an individual who like to be alone but that is not what is
planned by fate.
The book begins on August 16, 2005 as Hurricane Katrina is forming and preparing to
devastate New Orleans in August, 2005 and it ends just ten days later, three days before
Katrina hit the city. Sammy is organizing his ideas for his coffee guide but everything comes
to a halt when Catfish is arrested on a ridiculous charge (grave robbing). Even though
Sammy becomes determined to lose himself in New Orleans and the book he is writing,
things do not quite go as planned.
As Sammy begins his journey to save Catfish he roams the streets looking for him and
meets some of the most amazing characters and the author gives us a menagerie of some
unforgettable people. The disappearance of Catfish forces Sammy to take a good hard look
at himself and he realizes that he is really fond of what he finds. To Sammy, the sudden
realization that slavery was the "American Holocaust" makes him feel partly responsible and
now he must atone and be absolved of guilt. And this is what we must wait for in book 2.
I must say that David Lummis can tell a good story. He also knows coffee houses in New
Orleans quite well and I found myself sitting in the very coffee houses that I was reading
about. We have long known that every writer puts some of his autobiography in the books
that he writes and so I must assume that that is also true here. The places where the book
is set are real but Lummis has created the characters (and they are wonderfully created)
and he thus gives us a book that is a pleasure to read. The detail with which he writes
makes New Orleans very real and in fact, the city emerges as a major character in the
Have I said enough great things about the novel? If I haven't then I strongly recommend
that you get a copy and see for yourself.
-- Amos Lassen, Little Rock, AR
|"Sleepless in New Orleans”
Thought provoking, humorous, & informative.
I couldn't put it down. Thank you David Lummis for keeping me up so late!
-- Allain Bush, New Orleans, LA
|"If you love New Orleans, you'll love this book!"
|Of course, when I say "love New Orleans" I mean the REAL New Orleans, not necessarily just Bourbon Street on a Saturday night (although that's New Orleans too). I'm talking about the history, the amazing rhythm and music of the city and, most of all, the wonderful people who make New Orleans their home. This book is a rich tapestry of all of these things and a must read for anyone who loves New Orleans (or anyone who just loves a book you can fall into rather than skim through). I can't wait for Part Two!
-- Nancy Currier, Atlanta, GA
|"Better the second time."
|I read The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans the first time quickly as I always read, to assemble the charactors, pick up the plot, get to some thrilling conclusion and move on to the next book. But this book was different so I decided to give it a second read and savor the "Mellifluously Mixed Metaphors". This I did as a wine connoisseur does (pardon me B. Sammy) as he takes a tiny sip, swishes it around in his mouth with his eyes rolled back in his head and, after a long pause, knods an O.K. to the waiter. This is the way to read the Chronicles. The descriptive metaphors bring the unique charactors to life. The story plot is great, mixed with mystery, descriptive narrative of present day and historical New Orleans and a courageous no-holds-barred description of slavery as practiced in America, and the effect it had on the sensitive psyche of Catfish and B. Sammy Singleton. The Coffee Shop Chronicles is a must read, but read it slowly and savor every word. Get Part 2 out ASAP David. (And Part 3)
-- Pete, Paducah, KY
|"Seductive, intelligent and witty-- you'll love it."
|For those of you who are readers, but haven't read this yet, I like to describe it as Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City) meets David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day, et al) at the Confederacy of Dunces. LOL
Of course this David has his own style, his own unique issues, his own view points-- but if you're wondering if you'll laugh-- yes, you will! You may be rendered speechless and appalled at other times in the book, but you will most definitely enjoy David's lively humor and wit.
Read it!! Now!! Incredibly enjoyable. If you already love New Orleans, or want to get to know her better, you will enjoy the book even more so.
-- Raymond Ruiz, New Orleans, LA
|"great summer read"
|David Lummis has captured the charm, mystique, and culture of life in the Big Easy. A must read for anyone who loves New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
-- Trudi B. Stafford, Fort Worth, TX
|"tales of the big easy"
|I actually finished reading David's book a couple of weeks ago, and I was immediately moved to write an insightful review of wit and wry wisdom to match the fabulous life and times recounted in the saga of B. Sammy Singleton's tales of the city.
But I was stymied by an unexpected Internet outage (which of course meant that no writing was possible), and I suppose that is also why I was available for World Cup partying with the Brazilians. After this momentary distraction and their shocking defeat, several days of extended napping were required on my part. I awoke determined to heap deserved praise on this novel, only to discover a marathon season rerun of Treme on HBO… but I digress.
Writers everywhere will immediately recognize in B. Sammy their worst nightmare, their deepest despair and the tortured unraveling of a very dangerous mind. David Lummis’ book is nothing less than a paean to the fine art of procrastination, woven into the lives of some truly memorable personalities. The characters in The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans are fabulous, brimming with quirks and bon homme like the Big Easy itself. But B. Sammie’s story is also the existential struggle that all writers wage against the hated Deadline, and this angst is captured beautifully and comically in this well-crafted novel.
-- Gary Fusco, San Francisco, CA
|"At the heart of coffee..."
| A couple of months ago an old high school friend showed up on facebook. We friended – which btw I cringe at making “friend” a verb. But I started catching up on his life in New Orleans and oh yeah, his first novel was about to be published.Over the next few weeks I watched him checking the proof, and the first press roll off the line. Although I haven’t seen him since graduation MANY years ago, I am amazingly proud of my friend – David Lummis.Now let’s talk about the book: The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleansintroduces us to B. Sammy Singleton. And that’s just a B. It doesn’t stand for anything. Sammy and his crew – Catfish, Georgia, Infinity and the likes are characters as real as flesh and blood in late summer of 2005 New Orleans. Sammy is on retainer to write a handbook of the great coffee shops.As a childhood friend, I’m giddy about recommending The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans. As an avid reader, grad a cup of your favorite joe and pull up a great read. Order yours online or better yet, pick one up in person at an independent book retailer or coffee shop near you in New Orleans.
-- Laura Rudolph Wilson, Nashville, TN
|"Terrific New Orleans novel"
|Looking for a terrific novel to read? Check out 'The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans.' This absorbing story deftly blends memorably realized characters (Sammy, Catfish, Georgia...) with weighty themes (the legacy of slavery, living with sobriety, the sacrament of drinking coffee, among others), while conveying the grit and grandeur of the Crescent City like nothing else I’ve ever read.
-- Steve Dan Sprinkle, San Diego, CA
|Reminiscent of Armistead Maupinís Tales of the City series, The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans is equally captivating. The novel, in three parts (hurry up with the next two installments!), is not only a whodunit as well as the story of a gay manís search for his niche in NOLA but a commentary on the shameful history of the United States apropos its treatment of slaves. Sounds like a bit much for one book to handle but it works, really really well.
The clever, smooth flowing prose, often humorous, at times fact-filled, made it impossible to put down. I read the book (350 pages) in two daysÖwithout coffee.
If you love New Orleans, or are like me and donít know this steeped-in-history city and want to, and you enjoy a good mystery with a soupÁon of morality, then youíll certainly enjoy this vivid read. The characters are believable and engaging, often endearing, and many are deliciously eccentric. They include the Crescent City herself and a very special River House, and, of course, the many singular coffeehouses of New Orleans.
-- Tatjana Meerman, Potomac, MD
|"Thank you for a lovely book!"
|Hello David, (if I may presume to call you by your first name), I struggled to stay awake last night to finish your Coffee Shop Chronicles - a long day and the heat were closing me down - not your excellent book. I could not allow myself to drift off until that decidedly (emotionally) difficult last chapter and Catfish's soul flaying poem was read and then digested - and then digested again. I suspect, The Coffee Shop Chronicles will be one of those books whose theme and questions raised will demand a great deal of digestion before it becomes part of the fibre of one's consciousness.
Sammy's inner dialogue and outward movement (or lack there of) made me laugh out loud and several scenes will stay with me - the coffee shop being invaded by the family of tourists, the painful scream as he jumps into bed with Catfish and the baggy Edie Bauer shorts (my favourite).
The "unusually" long sentence structure took a little getting used to, but soon enough I was lulled by its rhythm and it became the melody behind the lyrics.
Thank you for a lovely book. I look forward to the next.
-- Sandy Morgan, St. Andrews, CANADA
|"I want you to jump on the couch!"
|Hi David! OK, finished the book, and it was like totally awesome dude!!! What an accomplishment! I can't wait for part deux. The whole American Holocaust thing of course is depressing as hell, but it is important to point out to the self righteous just how screwed up we truly are. There probably isn't too many nations that don't have comparable atrocities in their pasts, but probably few are as much in denial about them. Anyhow, nationhood is tribalism is individuality, and nothing is going to change fundamentally until we get out of our own crazy heads.
-- Mark Gauley, St. Andrews, CANADA
|I have read this book twice and as a New Orleanian, it continues to provide me with excitement and appreciation for the city I love and choose to live in. A great read! I highly recommend it for anyone who shares the love I have for New Orleans or wants a glimpse inside this fabulous city.
-- Kelly Ann Cahill, New Orleans, LA
|"Impossible to put down..."
|As a lover of all things NOLA, I was ready to delve into a new novel about one of my favorite places in the world. David Lummis has written a beautiful love story about the people, places, smells, tastes and textures of a wonderful jewel of a city. I became engrossed from the first page and read it straight through without a stop, except, of course, for a few refills of coffee. Buy this book, find a favorite spot to relax with a yummy beverage (coffee IS preferred) and get ready to surround yourself in all that is the Big Easy. Now if I could only afford to relocate there.....
-- Nancy Rafi, Providence, RI
|"Read this book!"
|...if you love New Orleans or intend to. It's knowing, observant, passionately felt, and beautifully written:
"As usual Jonah looked like he'd wriggled out of a rabbit hole, which as far as I knew he had since he'd been 'temporarily address-less' for as long as I'd known him. Despite the temperature he was sporting a stocking cap pulled down to his eyebrows and several layers of clothing encrusted with dried mud. Although he was about the size of a skinny seven-year-old, he could have been anywhere from fifty to eighty, the only clear signals being the yellowing whites of his eyes and borderline toothlessness. Personal longevity aside, he'd beeen a fixture of the French Quarter for as long as anyone could remember, like Ruthie the Duck Lady or Jude Acers--Chess Expert, except that his range was not limited to the Vieux Carre. Rather, he was equally likely to be found pedaling through the Marigny or Treme or Faubourg St. John--wherever and whenever his "duty" took him--a duty that consisted of salvaging "treasures" that would otherwise be "gone for good" from the thousands of derelict 19th century homes all over the city. Sometimes he came up with nothing more than a few marbles or doll appendages or vintage pop bottles dug out from under a house, while other times his pickings were more substantial--a jeweled stained-glass window without many cracks, or a set of hand-hewn cypress brackets, or a courtyard-sized cache of marble bricks. Regardless of street value each item was personally excavated and delivered by Jonah, with most of his goods going to the junktique dealers along Decatur, where he went by several names. The last time I'd seen him he'd been weaving down Elysian Fields alongside Washington Square Park, a fluted porch column suspended across his bicycle in a balancing act worthy of any Cirque de Soleil."
-- David S. Sprinkle, Baltimore, MD
|"Treme in print..."
|A truly good read for all of us who love NO. The book evokes great memories for me of times and places that need to be revisited often. The characters are fascinating. I can't wait for part II.
-- J. Schnur, Burke, VA
|"Maupin meets Confederacy of Dunces!"
|Funny, thought-provoking, and not afraid to dig into the big issues, the first installment of The Coffee Shop Chronicles is a dense and satisfying read. B. Sammy is a character with a strong, hilarious voice and -- as it turns out -- an equally strong conscience. My only complaint about this wonderful book is that I have to wait several months for more!
-- Deborah Gains, South Orange, NJ