Jack Simmons was born in San Diego, California. He attended Mandeville High School in Louisiana, Louisiana State University, Tulane University, Temple University, and the Freie Universität in Berlin. He works as a professor of philosophy in Savannah, Georgia, where he lives with his wife Katherine and children Savannah, Mary, and Augustus. Although teaching, writing, and raising children keep him busy, he still makes time for a Sazerac cocktail in the evenings.
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Three Dashes Bitters
When Tim Schmidt returns to New Orleans to attend his sister’s debutante ball, he finds that nothing has changed during his three-year hiatus in Boston.
He is still in love with Jane, a hard-drinking iconoclast, too well bred to join the ranks of the Generation X slackers, yet unable to accept the standards of her high society upbringing. Happily, it seems Jane might still harbor feelings for him.
But over drinks at The Columns Hotel, things get messy, and Tim’s grand return to the city of his birth soon unravels—the very sort of thing that inspired Tim to leave NOLA in the first place.
With only twenty-four hours before the ball to figure out what to do (which has never been Tim’s forte), this former philosophy student finds unsolicited advice from members of a new leisure class. There is Milton, Tim’s college roommate turned Marxist revolutionary, a Falstaffian gent bent on overthrowing the government. Two young Arizona “brothers from another mother.” A disillusioned German exchange student who has abandoned the study of physics for the French Quarter social scene. And an Italian fellow who is a self-proclaimed master in the art of amore.
Picking up where Walker Percy (The Moviegoer) and John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces) left off, this wild romp presents New Orleans as an eternal city, whose characters exceed the vicissitudes of fortune, functioning instead as a universal canvas upon which individuals must struggle to carve out their existence. This is not the NOLA of Hurricane Katrina, political corruption, crime, tourism, or the home of jazz. Rather, Simmons adds to the literary œuvre of this Southern city, and Three Dashes Bitters captures a New Orleans defined only in the individuals we encounter—not the easy stereotypes that make individuality impossible.
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