Commencing in the early nineteen nineties and spanning roughly a decade, Stuart W. Mirsky, historical novelist and former New York City official, wrote a regular column for two local newspapers. Intended to nurture and encourage political competition in what had long been a one-party town, “The Rockaway Irregular” soon blossomed into a wide ranging vehicle for addressing an array of social, political and governmental concerns. From discussions about political promises, both remembered and forgotten, to questions of good governance, the nation’s response to the devastating attacks of 9/11, and the nature of political argument itself, Mirsky explores the ways in which our preconceptions and prejudices shape what we tell others . . . and ourselves.
These articles have been culled from the original “Irregular” pieces, written in the throes of a short-lived Republican resurgence on the Rockaway peninsula in the early nineties, as well as from more recent material, reflecting the current state of a “culture war” that has infused contemporary political discourse. From the nineteen nineties to the present, the recent history of Rockaway, New York’s forgotten beachfront community, is brought sharply into focus through the lens of contemporary observation, even as the robust national political debate of 2004 impinges on, and sometimes seems to smother, everything else.
Mirsky, who is the author of >THE KING OF VINLAND’S SAGA>, a novel about Vikings and Indians in eleventh century North America (published in late 1998), changed his own career course in 2002 in order to focus full-time on fiction and social commentary. “The two don’t necessarily go together,” Mirsky admits, adding that he’s not even sure himself, at times, “where the non-fiction leaves off and that other stuff begins.”