Rosencrans Baldwin Reading Review – You Lost Me There
The turnout at McNally Jackson was surprising. I’d not heard or read any of the hype buffeting Mr. Baldwin’s first novel, You Lost Me There, so the kind of flitty buzzing of low voices that comes from an expectant crowd came as a shock. The attendance dwarfed A.L. Kennedy’s (a week or so before) and Tom McCarthy’s (the next day). Neither got this kind of elbow-to-elbow attention from pastel sweaters and thick black plastic glasses. I jittered out a few vicarious shivers and grit my teeth through a brief belly-cut of jealousy. Brief because he looked more surprised about the crowd than I, and spoke like a man appropriately appreciative of the strong attendance. Christ. You can’t help but like the guy.
You know he’s the type who’d not only show up to your Super Bowl party after RSVPing, and not only bring a case of decent beer, but he’s also the type who wouldn’t go digging in your fridge after the game looking to take home “his” remaining 8 full beers when your party went poorly attended as usual. He might even help clean up.
So yeah, Rosencrans is someone who I’d be proud to have as a friend. Or creep-stalk through a blog. Either way.
Rosencrans reads at a pleasant clip, his performance made somehow stronger by a jangled nerve or occasional stumble. Strong reader, despite this being his first published novel. You get the feeling he’s read for audiences before, or is past caring about the small shit after publishers rejected his first two novels. Maybe he’s a Toastmaster.
He’s put in his time, though. Rosencrans co-founded The Morning News, whose tagline, “Black and White and Read All Over,” we can forgive because it’s a damn fine weekly literary e-zine. You’re happy to see a hard-working, obviously not-in-it-for-the-money writer succeed with previews and reviews in the likes of the Times and even Entertainment Weekly Magazine. Like Charles D’Ambrosio, he’s the cliche’d plucky underdog story you half-expect to see getting the Disney treatment starring Dennis Quaid or Tim Fucking Allen in Theaters Near You. He took questions from the audience without the usual wince, even. Signing was great. Proud, uninhibited insult; Rosencrans, I think, enjoyed the Insulted by Authors idea.
Looking forward to his next signing, hopefully after he publishes another novel or even better: book of short stories. One can hope.
Big thumbs-up (my butt).