Stunning. Brief and intense and episodic. An interesting new voice.
These are some of the comments being made by literary critics about author Andrea Boll and her debut novel, “The Parade Goes On Without You.” Boll, an assistant professor here at Dillard, read from her novel at the Will W. Alexander Library on March 11.
Boll, who has taught at Dillard for the past six years, said the 145-page book about the New Orleans second-line culture and an interracial love story took her seven years to complete. Some 400 copies have been published by NOLAFugees Press; Boll also is a regular contributor to NOLAFugees.com.
Author Joseph Boyden called Boll’s book “stunning. It’s poetic and alive with the heart and exuberance of a second line.”
Nola.com reviewer Susan Larson’s blog called the novel “brief and intense and episodic, filled with duriously driven poetry.”
Kevin Allman, at GambitWeekly.com, said, “Some might find it slight, balanced somewhere between poetry and a novella, but Boll’s is an interesting new voice.”
Of trying to find time to write while teaching, Boll said, “Of course, I wish I had the resources to write and not have to work, but I don’t.
“With that in mind, teaching isn’t a bad way to support my family and make a living. I get summers off, have reasonable hours. It doesn’t suck the life out of my soul, it doesn’t exploit anybody for profit, it’s creative and fun, and it keeps me in touch with the younger generation.”
Boll said some of her favorite authors are Langston Hughes, Shakespeare and Tupac Shakur.
A native of San Diego, Boll earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and her master’s of fine arts from the University of New Orleans. She said she first considered the possibility of being good enough to write a book during her second year in graduate school.
“That was when I began to really figure out the basics of storytelling in a way that seemed to be my own.” said Boll. She added that she’s already started trying to rework a book of short stories, “Whipping Girl,” that she began before her new book.
Boll said New Orleans has much to recommend: “Its freedom, its chaos, second lines. Mardi Gras, listening to music on the floor of church while watching the glass windows ablaze with the new day, its dirtiness and Third World charm, my neighbors. The ‘how you doing’s’ and ‘hey, baby’s,’ to-go cups, communal celebrations, the river, the lake, my house, my friends, bounce, Juvenile, Lil Wayne, brass bands, springtime and all the crazy people.”
The novel is $15 and may be purchased at Boll’s office, local bookstores (Borders, Beth’s Books, Garden District Bookstore), on Amazon.com and nolafugeespress.com.
(Mario Martin contributed to this report.)