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From the publisher:
Meticulously drawn in lyrical prose, this tale of death and rebirth, devastation and redemption, will draw you into a world of beauty and pain, as alluring as it is dangerous. It is 1891 in New Orleans, and young Typhus Morningstar cycles under the light of the half-moon to fulfill his calling, rebirthing aborted fetuses in the fecund waters of the Mississippi River. He cannot know that nearby, events are unfolding that will change his life forever - events that were set in motion by a Voodoo curse gone awry 40 years before he was born. All will be irrevocably changed by a demonic struggle, and by the sound of a new musical form: jazz
"Louis Maistros has written a lyrical, complex, and brave novel that takes enormous risks and pulls them all off. He is a writer to watch and keep reading, a writer to cherish."
– Peter Straub
"The Society of North American Magic Realists welcomes its newest, most dazzling member, Louis Maistros. His debut novel is a thing of wonder, unlike anything in our literature. It startles. It stuns. It stupefies. No novel since CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES has done such justice to New Orleans. If Franz Kafka had been able to write like Peter Straub, this might have been the result."
– Donald Harington,
Multiple award-winning novelist and
recipient of the Oxford-American Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Set in a meticulously researched, living and breathing Storyville-era New Orleans, The Sound of Building Coffins is variously an ultraviolet comedy, a family saga, and a meditation on race, class, and how those who think they're at the top of the heap seldom really are (more important points than ever in our post-Katrina landscape). Vividly drawn and frequently heartbreaking; a big, tremendously complex, absorbing, essential novel. Some authors live here all their lives and manage to write nothing but cliches about the city, but Louis Maistros gets it right the first time. The Sound of Building Coffins is easily one of the finest and truest pieces of New Orleans fiction I've ever read.”
- Poppy Z. Brite
“Magical realism meets the seedy melting pot of early 20th-century New Orleans in this richly complex novel. The story has plenty of ghosts, magic, demons and, this being New Orleans, a ‘Cajun bogeyman’ named Coco Robicheux. It depicts a world where Jesus himself, speaking to a pastor busily wrestling with demons, would say ‘Get the fuck out of this house.’ It shows a place where outsiders are conned with elaborate scams that send them packing, none the wiser but considerably poorer. Those who survive this dangerous milieu are bound together by water, and the liquid becomes one of the novel's major leitmotifs. If all of this sounds improbable, it is. Yet this novel contains considerable wonders as well, and these wonders are more than enough to transcend the story's complexities.”
- Publisher's Weekly
"Deeply original and as hypnotically strange as New Orleans itself, this novel breathes to life a magical realm. Louis Maistros' haunting characters are at once timeless and firmly tethered to their city's dark history."
– Elise Blackwell
"This is not just historical fiction to me, but literature that illustrates human motivation soaked in the magic of human emotion. Everyone who is curious about or already in love with New Orleans should read this book." –
The Burlesque Queen of New Orleans
“Louis Maistros has an original and dark vision, full of power.”
- Douglas Clegg
“The nineteenth-century New Orleans that Maistros creates in The Sound of Building Coffins could not come from normal research; you can write a book like this only after spending years obsessed, trawling through old newspapers and out-of-print books and even the streets themselves for clues to evoke this vision of the city's earlier life. That he tells a strange and intriguing story - a horror novel about the birth of jazz - almost doesn't matter. The weird way that this commercial thriller sings its paean to that lost era reminds me of Russell Greenan's IT HAPPENED IN BOSTON?, another classic that defies the easy caricature.”
- Peter Orr
“Maistros is an explosive new talent whose writing reverberates with color and subtle irony.”
- S .P. Somtow
“The Sound of Building Coffins is a soulful work from a writer of the weird. Maistros does more than make you feel for his characters and their twisted, damaged lives; he makes you *want* to feel.”
- Paul G. Tremblay
“The Sound of Building Coffins is a magnetic story with beautifully drawn characters that keep you turning the pages. Maistros captures the dialect, the neighborhood, the whole ambience of Old New Orleans superbly.”
- Raymond Buckland
Louis Maistros is a longtime resident of the New Orleans 8th Ward neighborhood. A former forklift operator and self-taught writer with no formal training, his writing has appeared in publications such as the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Baltimore City Paper. Along with his wife Elly, he currently owns and operates Louie's Juke Joint, a combination jazz record shop and Vodou botanica. He is mildly self-conscious about the fact that he shares a birthday with Lee Harvey Oswald, and is currently working out a conspiracy theory about that.
Louie is also a singer/songwriter. You can download some of his songs for free here.
And then there's this:
Words, music, images copyright 2006 by Louis Maistros
(Above photos taken by and copyrighted by Louis Maistros)
Please visit Louie's blog.
Also, please visit Louie's MySpace page and add him as a "friend."