The Park Slope-centric novel “On Prospect Park West” might be the newest book to pontificate on the hyper-liberal family neighborhood, but it’s hardly the first time the community has starred in a work of fiction.
Dozens of scribes have detailed Park Slope — which isn’t surprising, considering that it is one of the literary capitols of the borough, if not the world.
But no other Park Slope book has had the buzz that currently surrounds former sex columnist Amy Sohn’s eagerly anticipated novel.
Only time will tell where “On Prospect Park West” ranks in Park Slope’s artistic canon, which already boasts favorites including:
Though protagonist Nathan Glass moves to Park Slope in search of a “quiet place to die,” the neighborhood turns out providing plenty of excitement in Paul Auster’s 2006 masterwork. In a story detailing a fractured family reconnecting in Park Slope, Auster deftly describes neighborhood restaurants like La Bagel Delight, personalities including a character deemed the “Beautiful Perfect Mother,” and happenings including the closure of a fictionalized Seventh Avenue bookstore — a scenario that turned out to be all to real.
Brooklyn born director Noah Baumbach’s “The Squid and the Whale” takes on a number of Park Slope stereotypes like pretentious writers, tenuous lessons at the Prospect Park Tennis Center, and the difficulty of finding a parking spot. The film features an all-star cast including Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Anna Paquin, and even a Baldwin, who act out the collapse of a literary family. In a word, this eminently quotable film is “Kafka-esque.”
In this children’s book, Nathanael Chura helps Park Slope kids deal with a common Park Slope problem — the arrival of younger siblings. The cutely and simply drawn sketches tell the story of George and Ira, a pair of Brooklyn cats who live “in a modest corner brownstone on Prospect Park West.” The duo is the center of attention for their owners — and even the cleaning lady Rosa — until Baby Emily comes along. Borough President Markowitz gave his blessing to the picture book and its stars, who he said “represent Brooklynites in the cat world, and the human world as well.”
Though children’s book legend Mo Willems abandoned Park Slope for Massachusetts last year, the beloved writer’s work will always belong to the neighborhood. And none of his books pertains to Park Slope more than “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale,” which tells the story of a toddler losing her beloved stuffed animal inside a Laundromat at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Fifth Street. Drawn in vivid colors over a backdrop of muted photos, Willems’ book is so appealing to Park Slope kids that it has actually turned a washing machine into a tourist destination for tykes.