Diddy-Wah-Diddy: A Beale Street Suite (2013)

Diddy-Wah-Diddy: A Beale Street Suite  (Ampersand Books, $16.00)  Available NOW! You may order it HERE


Diddy-wah-Diddy is an outlaw work, riffing connections faster than the eye can follow or the mind can see, a narrative shapeshifter at work and play, coming off like some literary Coltrane, dancing through waves of cascading metaphors and narrative riffs, voices and visions, startling conjunctions and intuitive revelations. Literature doing what it does best, forging a new way of seeing – a profound meditation on the human condition wrapped in a wild blue jazz solo.  With Diddy-wah-Diddy, Corey Mesler’s unique voice has found its fruition in a narrative tour de force.  Him and his work both stone cold literary outlaws. Memphis on the cutting edge.  Representing.”

Arthur Flowers, author of Another Good Loving Blues and De Mojo Blues

“They say–they used to say–that anything can happen on Beale Street.  Here it does.”

Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces and Mystery Train: Images of American in Rock and Roll Music 



“Corey Mesler writes riotous prose–fluid and lush and crazy. It’s verbally rich and witty–half literary, half hoodoo. Imagine James Joyce on Beale Street with Elvis. Or something like that. Wacky but poignant!”

Bobbie Ann Mason, author of The Girl in the Blue Beret and Shiloh and Other Stories

“With a playful, bebop narration, Corey Mesler transports the reader to the original Beale Street, where the heroes are musicians, bartenders, hustlers and strippers. Their dreams for a better life lead them to both love and betrayal, to angels and demons. And throughout, Mesler’s prose gives the stories such a distinct rhythm—a sense of drumming, melody, and passion—that you literally hear the music.”

Susan Henderson, author of Up from the Blue

“The fevered dream of a Beale Street that could have been…or maybe was. Club BingoBango is the center of the known universe, with celebrities and local toughs and beautiful, dangerous women. Mesler has spun a tale of intrigue and delight.”

Willie Bearden, author of Memphis Blues: Birthplace of a Tradition and writer/director of the film, One Came Home

“Corey Mesler has cornered and captured the Memphis that has always interested me the most, the Memphis that’s inextricably tangled up in its own mythology. And he’s done it in such a way that we leave with the essential truth: Memphis is a phantasm, an accumulation of stories, most certainly a ghost town. As Michael Ondaatje gave us the New Orleans of Buddy Bolden, Mesler brings us to that other American city of song and throws us into its theater of strangeness, its lust and languor, its rage and bite. Not content to leave the mythic characters of Memphis under layers of sediment, Mesler brings them out, onto the streets, into the night again.”

Warren Zanes, author of Dusty in Memphis, and former Vice-President of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

“In Diddy-Wah-Diddy, Corey Mesler has tapped into a Mesler beyond Mesler.  It’s got his signature virtuoso brand of linguistic pyrotechnics, of course, but the inspiration of place seems to have catapulted him right out of whatever limitations he may have had.  And he had very few limitations.  So the thing is some kind of heady elixir, a marvelous entertainment, a streamlined invention that soars despite its heavy cargo of bedrock emotion. Mesler is some original man of letters.”

Steve Stern, author of The Book of Mischief and the Jewish Book Award winner for The Wedding Jester

“Down and dirty and fantastical.”
Leonard Gill, The Memphis Flyer 

Diddy-Wah-Diddy is a bawdy and boisterous collection of tales resurrecting the old Beale Street of legend, the chapters somewhat loosely connected by reappearing characters such as Sweet Annie Divine, who started singing in juke joints at 16 and ‘died of the drink in a Memphis boarding house’ after recording ‘I’m a Drunk in a Memphis Boarding House.

The stories begin with a love triangle that involves an irresistible stripper, a gangster who’s also a werewolf, and a drummer who turns devil to win back the woman he loves. The gangster/werewolf isn’t easily defeated, as the stripper, Arms Akimbo, learns when she consults a witch who lives near Central High and returns ‘heading toward hell armed with a tumbler full of tepid water.’

The tales, written in a raucous freestyle reminiscent of early Tom Robbins, roam a mythical Beale Street history that takes in Santa Claus, witches, the devil in many guises and, of course, Elvis.”

Peggy Burch, in The Memphis Commercial Appeal


“A big-butted stripper named Callie Pidgeon, a sexy gangster/werewolf known as Ricky the Rake Romito, and a drummer called Styx Quetzalcoatl are just a few of the characters who populate Corey Mesler’s new book, Diddy Wah Diddy: A Beale Street Suite, which should give you some idea of the rich mix of fantasy, wordplay, and good-hearted bawdiness to be found therein. Mesler calls the book a “collage novel,” a descriptor that seems as apt as any for this highly varied collection of short pieces on a single obsession: a phantasmagorical Beale Street that both is and is not the legendary Memphis avenue known as the birthplace of the blues. Diddy Wah Diddy is a kind of spiritual history of a real place, a history rooted in the earthly past but definitely not bound by it.

Mesler has created a work of serious fun here, full of memorable images and worth revisiting for the sheer pleasure of its gymnastic wit.”

Maria Browning, Chapter 16

At the press: http://ampersand-books.com/diddy-wah-diddy-by-corey-mesler/

Dig this, Jessica Haekel doing “Mississippi Lowdown Blues,” a song from the book:


 Yeah, yeah, it goes against my personal aesthetic but my new novel, Diddy-Wah-Diddy: A Beale Street Suite, is now available as an ebook. All you electronic readers out there show me some love. 


3 responses to “Diddy-Wah-Diddy: A Beale Street Suite (2013)

  1. Pingback: Coming real soon now…. | We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon

  2. Can’t wait to read this!!!!!!!!!! Corey is a genious!!!!!! Mary R. Price

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