It is with abundant pride that I announce the pending publication of yet another book from the Trainjotting correspondent family: Straphanger Joe’s brilliant novel Open Wounds.
Open Wounds is a very unique book; it’s the life story of an aging fencing maestro–fencing, as in en garde! and foils and all that–who coached actors in the art when fencing was all the rage in Hollywood many, many decades ago. (You know, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Montecristo, etc.) The man has had a fascinating life, growing up poor with an alcoholic father and ill-tempered grandmother in Sunnyside, Queens, then at an orphanage in Manhattan, then with a long-lost uncle at the Chelsea Hotel. There’s one truly memorable scene where the young boy, Cid, tails his angry grandmother on the subway from Queens to Manhattan as the saturnine old biddy indulges in a movie in Times Square. Joe did terrific research in piecing together an old NY subway ride–and old Times Square.
Open Wounds follows on the heels of Robert Klara’s FDR’s Funeral Train. Klara is also known as Trainjotting columnist Engine Bob.
I’m particularly proud of Straphanger Joe, known to the rest of the world as Joseph Lunievicz, as I saw his Open Wounds project develop from a 10-page brainstorm he first shared at a Manhattan writers’ group we were in together over many years, to a finished manuscript, to a revised, and then revised again, and then revised again, manuscript. To a finished, and near perfect, novel. I saw this thing when it was but a zygote.
Nobody works harder at the writing craft than Joe, and it’s great to see one of the really good guys see his lifelong dream realized.
Straphanger Joe authored dozens of posts about life on the subways, particularly the E and the F in and out of Jackson Heights, for Trainjotting in 2007-2010 before focusing on more important things, such as authoring books.
Open Wounds is considered a young adult book, but is perfectly suitable for grownups (and, at 352 pages, has plenty of heft). The book is officially out in May but you can pre-order now on Amazon.
Congrats, Joe, and enjoy!