The Iron Will of Hesh Kestin, at Bloom

shoeshinecatsJust over three years ago, I reviewed what would prove to be one of my favorite books read in 2011. Hesh Kestin’s The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats, aside from having one of the best titles of the decade, was a seriously fun hard-boiled noir coming of age tale set in 1963, featuring the Jewish Mafia, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the Civil Rights movement, Camus and W.H. Auden, and a whole lot more. I still have a soft spot for it a mile wide.

It turns out, as these things sometimes do, that the author didn’t start publishing fiction until he was in his 60s, which makes him—that’s right—a full-fledged Bloomer. This month I had the pleasure of talking to him about his long and eventful careers—as a journalist, an orange grower, a novelist, and a few other things to boot—and writing about him for Bloom. I learned many things: that cockroaches aren’t kosher, that you don’t wear a white helmet to a civil insurrection, and that a cigar may only be a cigar (more on that in the Wednesday “In His Own Words” feature), but a horse is never just a horse. See for yourself.


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