The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-city Neighbourhood

The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-city Neighbourhood


By (author) David Simon, By (author) Edward Burns

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  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 640 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 214mm x 44mm | 674g
  • Publication date: 2 April 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 1847673171
  • ISBN 13: 9781847673176
  • Edition statement: Main
  • Illustrations note: 1 map
  • Sales rank: 33,022

Product description

The crime-infested intersection of West Fayette and Monroe Streets is well-known - and cautiously avoided - by most of Baltimore. But this notorious corner's 24-hour open-air drug market provides the economic fuel for a dying neighborhood. David Simon, an award-winning author and crime reporter, and Edward Burns, a 20-year veteran of the urban drug war, tell the chilling story of this desolate crossroad. Through the eyes of one broken family - two drug-addicted adults and their smart, vulnerable 15-year-old son, DeAndre McCollough - Simon and Burns examine the sinister realities of inner cities across the country and unflinchingly assess why law enforcement policies, moral crusades, and the welfare system have accomplished so little. This extraordinary book is a crucial look at the price of the drug culture and the poignant scenes of hope, caring, and love that astonishingly rise in the midst of a place America has abandoned.

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Author information

David Simon's Homicide won the Edgar and Anthony awards and became the basis for the NBC award-winning drama. Simon's second book, The Corner: A Year in the Life of An Inner-City Neighbourhood, co-authored with Edward Burns, was made into an Emmy-winning HBO miniseries. Simon is currently an executive producer and writer for HBO's Peabody Award-winning series THE WIRE. He lives in Baltimore. A teacher in the Baltimore public school system, Edward Burns retired after serving twenty years in the city police department. For much of that time, he worked as a detective in the homicide unit.

Review quote

* A towering achievement. By narrowing their focus to a single American inner-city neighbourhood, Simon and Burns end up telling something broader in scope, even epic. These singular stories of tragedy and triumph, love and despair tell us more about what's plaguing big cities than a thousand studies. The Corner should be required reading for every public official in America - and beyond. The rest of us will simply read The Corner because it is more touching, mesmerising, maddening, heartbreaking and, ultimately, profound than anything we're likely to encounter in fiction. -- Linwood Barclay, author of NO TIME FOR GOODBYE * THE CORNER is an intimate, intense dispatch from the broken heart of urban America. It is impossible to read these pages and not feel stunned at the high price, in human potential, in thwarted aspirations, that simple survival on the streets of West Baltimore demands of its citizens. An important document, as devastating as it is lucid. Richard Price, author of CLOCKERS * Brave, unblinkered, and heartbreaking. New York Times Book Review * THE CORNER is a remarkable book--very tough, very demanding, very rewarding. Some of it is brutal and all of it is heartbreaking. As a reporter, I can only stand back and admire David Simon and Edward Burns for an amazing piece of reportage. To be there for an entire year, to make sense of random events and a list of characters long enough to make Charles Dickens envious, and to write coherently--it's a breathtaking achievement. And they manage to make West Baltimore as much a character as any of the flesh-and-blood people in the book. Glenn Frankel, author of BEYOND THE PROMISED LAND * If you want to understand street-corner life in the inner city, you should read THE CORNER, an amazingly intimate, detailed work of reporting that makes human and vivid a world that outsiders ordinarily are forced to learn about through statistics, sound bites, and stereotypes. Nicholas Lemann, author of THE PROMISED LAND * The most provocative account from a casualty-strewn frontline since the choppers left Saigon ... The viscerally affecting nature of the narrative makes it more powerful than any observational sociology ... the characters of The Corner step past raw facts and make the reader feel their lives, contradictions and desperations. There is poetry here, even tenderness. -- Tom Lappin Herald 20090321 * If The Wire has given you Baltimore fever, read this chunky, streetwise, drug-littered piece of reportage by the hard-hitting show's creators. The Times 20090404 * Excellent ... Gritty and highly engaging, start this book and you will think of nothing else until you are finished Sunday Business Post 20090322 * The Corner is an incredible piece of journalism. A gripping and at times painful read, it provides an insight into an unfamiliar world that society has largely forgotten, engendering a surprising amount of empathy for those whose only concern is where their next fix is coming from. Irish Tribune 20090329 * A true story as thrilling and intense as any psycho-drama ... This engrossing slice of social journalism is a tour de force that manages to humanise its subjects without exploiting them. -- Emma Rubach Big Issue 20090406 * A powerful work ... beautifully written, by turns evocative and simmeringly angry. -- Sean O'Hagan Observer 20090426 * A profoundly moving and intelligent piece of social history ... Simon and Burns' greatest skill is in humanizing these corner residents ... A decade late, but worth the wait. -- Peter Watts Time Out 20090416 * Simon and his collaborator Ed Burns are at once professionally distanced and compassionate ... and their scrupulous detail adds dimension and clarity to the profound social problems they are tackling. Metro 20090416 * The Corner - bristling with humanity and inhumanity - stands as an unblinking portrayal of how people organise themselves when cast adrift from the conventions of society. -- Giles Broadbent Wharf 20090423 * Gritty and highly engaging, start this book and you will think of nothing else until you are finished. Sunday Business Post 20090322 An amazingly clear-eyed, yet sympathetic portrait of the American underclass. -- Sameer Rahim Daily Telegraph 20090523