Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Corner

Many of you Wirephiles out there may already be acquainted with David Simon and Ed Burns's book (and the miniseries it spawned), but for those who are not I would recommend it. Published in the mid 90's it is essentially the inspiration for the drug culture/poverty side of the Wire. In fact, there are lines and passages that were essentially passed straight on to the series (Bunny Colvin's speech about the paper bag is almost word for word). Essentially Simon and Burns just hung out for about a year in a particular neighborhood, and eventually got to know old junkies, young wannabe gangsters, and the few law abiding people still living in the neighborhood. Like the Wire, I found the Corner to be almost unbearably depressing and like The Wire it is long on angry diatribes and short on anything in the way of solutions to the problems depicted. However, the length of their experience in the neighborhood and the length of the book give amazingly in-depth depictions of the four or five main characters and even another five or six peripheral characters. Of particular note is the passage about teenagers having kids, which I thought was really interesting and went to read to Mrs. PC. She cut me off before I even started and gave the same explanation that Simon had (and that she has seen in her own job).

Anyway, the book probably isn't going to change anyone's mind about Simon and Burns, but if you liked the wire you'll like the corner. Anyway this whole post may have just been a thinly veiled attempt to reignite the wire conversation now that I've seen the series. Also, for an amazing story about the inspiration for omar (although one that includes a spoiler for one character from the book) check this out.


Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

i know MB is a big corner fan. i've been meaning to read it for a while, could i borrow your copy PC?

1/25/2010 4:04 PM  
Blogger kenniebloggins said...

You guys might wanna check out Simon's other book Homicide, which spawned the series by that name. Great stuff, too.

1/25/2010 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

got it from the public library. picked it up in part because they didn't have homicide.


1/25/2010 11:21 PM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

my mom was always talking about how much she loved the show "homicide: life on the streets". always said the full title. i would laugh at how she said it, and then tell her no thanks, that i'd already sat through enough NYPD blue with her. ironic i end up being one of the biggest wire fans around. you were right, mom.

1/26/2010 10:07 AM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

btw, the corner mini series is available on HBO on demand right now. through the end of the month.

2/04/2010 9:51 AM  

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