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From Dave Eggers:For this year's edition of The Best American Nonrequired Reading, we wanted to expand the scope of the book to include shorter pieces, and fragments of stories, and transcripts, screenplays, television scripts -- lots of things that we hadn't included before. Our publisher readily agreed, and so you'll see that this year's edition is far more eclectic in form than previous editions. Along the way to making the book, we also came across a variety of things that didn't fit neatly anywhere, but which we felt should be included, so we conceived the front section, which is a loose Best American roundup of notable words and sentences from 2005. It is, like this book in general, obviously and completely incomplete, but might be interesting nevertheless.
You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up, a novel of luck and irony, follows the wayward meanderings of a Depression drifter (Dick) as he bums his way from Oklahoma to Los Angeles in search of his son and runaway wife. There he commits one crime, plans another, and gets arrested for something he didn't do. He is befriended by characters as lush and crazy as L.A. Deco: Quentin Genter, film director, decadent, collector of beauty and poison. Mamie, an indestructibly loving divorcee. Patsy, who gilds her sandals with radiator paint and becomes an adored evangelist. And a procession of crooks, shysters, rueful temptors and loopy saints. "You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up" was a bestseller when originally published in 1938, a lost noir classic.
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